Page 903 - Week 03 - Thursday, 19 March 2015

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providers, has been established to guide the overall tenant relocation program. A tenant relocation strategy has been developed to assist tenants to move to their new accommodation and will be backed by funding to assist with relocation costs. The Housing ACT joint champions group will also serve as a forum for residents to express their needs and concerns.

Finally, on the issue of the Canberra South Motor Park, which Ms Lawder expressed concern over during the February sitting, it is a small but important part of the housing continuum in Canberra. Recent commercial interest in the sale of the site had led some residents to raise concerns about their future at the site. I can inform the Assembly that the government has now received advice that the offer for sale has been formally withdrawn. It should also be noted that in all discussions about the future of the site, the government has clearly identified the long-term future of residents as a primary consideration. This is the starting point for all our services and all those who need them.

But for all the value of these services, the ACT’s housing sector remains in real need of funding certainty. The year by year negotiation of commonwealth funding under the national partnership agreement on homelessness creates great uncertainty for service providers. It undermines their ability to plan, to retain staff and to provide reliable services. Numerous representations made to me by peak bodies and service providers have highlighted the precarious state some important community services find themselves in. I have reiterated to them, as I have to the Assembly, my ongoing commitment to advocate for them at the federal level and seek the funding assurances so clearly needed.

I thank members for the largely bipartisan position taken in relation to this and I urge the opposition also to continue to lobby for greater funding certainty and transparency in crucial service sectors such as housing.

I present the following paper:

Public Housing and Homelessness Services in the ACT—Ministerial statement, 19 March 2015.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.33): I have a few brief remarks in support of the minister’s statement. As Minister Berry said, there is a danger in the discussion of housing and homelessness of jumping to conclusions based purely on statistics and it does a great disservice to those whose lives we are talking about. I would add that it also does a disservice to those who work in this important area of vulnerability.

In my time as housing minister I was greatly impressed by the skill, dedication and passion of those working in both government and non-government agencies. Providing housing and responding to those experiencing homelessness is a difficult task and one that is getting more difficult and complex as demand grows and services

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