Page 470 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 18 February 2015

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I thank Minister Gentleman for his support and for his vision in understanding how our planning system needs to meet the needs of a growing and diversifying community and economy, for outlining his commitment to building a resilient community—a community that has housing choice and open spaces—and for his work to increase density and support urban infill through the planning system, which builds diversity as our city grows and matures and plans for our future.

The Chief Minister, Minister Gentleman and Minister Rattenbury also talked about the importance of renewing our housing stock as a priority for our public housing tenants. It is what they want. It is a priority for our social policy outcomes, which seek to improve the participation of all Canberrans in our economy and in our community, and it is a priority for urban renewal—not just along Northbourne Avenue, as important as that is, especially for the tenants currently there, but in other parts of our city, notably the inner south.

Our generous community understands that these developments no longer meet urban or social policy outcomes. Minister Berry is a passionate advocate for social housing tenants. I know she does not just want to put a roof over people’s heads but to provide better homes to those people who really need it. I know how invested she is in working with these tenants. She knows it is important for tenants to know that the housing renewal process is a long-term process.

No tenant will be made homeless as a result of our renewal. As Minister Rattenbury indicated, the government announced last year that there will be a roof-for-roof replacement of social housing. The government will work to provide each and every tenant affected by the process with the capacity to determine their needs and preferences and provide them with suitable accommodation options. The government will listen and be sensitive to the wishes of tenants while undertaking this much-needed renewal of our ageing housing stock.

The renewal of public housing involves delivering an accelerated renewal program of public housing along the Northbourne corridor and other housing multi-unit properties outside the corridor. It will break down concentrations of disadvantage by redeveloping larger public housing complexes and maintaining our salt and peppering approach. It will build homes that meet the needs of tenants, be they older people, mums and dads with kids or people with a disability.

It will improve the energy efficiency of public housing and use of accessible design, which is particularly important for people on low incomes and people with a disability. It will reduce the burden of old stock that requires costly maintenance by designing new stock that has a lower maintenance requirement into the future. The renewal of the aged and rundown public housing along Northbourne Avenue is a key focus for the future urban landscape for our city and enhancing the gateway to our city.

The new homes will be modern, well-designed, efficient and better suited to the people whose needs we need to meet. On this note it is worth remembering that more than a third of public housing homes are home to people with a disability. The public housing renewal program, as the Chief Minister outlined, is ambitious and represents a significant increase in public housing replacement. For this reason it will progress over at least the next decade.

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