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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1115 ..

The government are investing in public housing that better meets the needs of our tenants now and into the future. This will drive urban renewal across our city and improve the range of housing choices available to ACT residents. Public housing is central to the government’s strategy to alleviate poverty and social disadvantage in our community. We believe that we need to provide better housing, and that is what we are committed to doing.

Communities want better suburbs, and that is what my government are committed to delivering. Our economy needs support at this time through major investment in new public infrastructure, and that is exactly what we are seeking to deliver.

This is a challenging time for our economy and we are seeing the impacts of significant cuts from the federal government on our economy. Now is the time for the territory government to be in the business of providing new public infrastructure for this city. As part of a $2½ billion stimulus to our local economy, we are doing our bit to build our city, to invest in public housing, to invest in better public transport and to invest in improved infrastructure for Canberrans.

It is an investment in housing, in the development and construction of replacement public housing, and this assists businesses locally—suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, consultants and builders. An investment in residential construction is an investment in local business that promotes spending in our local economy. Just as replacing old buildings stimulates the economy, so too does the redevelopment of our existing sites.

This will provide Canberrans with a wider range of housing choices. I think we are seeing a sea change in this city where people want more choices about where they live and the type of housing that they live in. The people who live in Canberra today will, of course, have different needs in the coming decades, and redeveloping our ageing public housing into new and more adaptive housing helps us to ensure that our city’s housing stock can meet those future needs.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, why is public housing renewal important to Canberra’s public housing residents?

MR BARR: As I have indicated, our housing stock is, on average, the oldest in Australia, particularly within the inner north and the inner south. That is the oldest amongst our overall portfolio. The age of these properties means that their operating and maintenance costs are high, and this places an undue burden upon tenants in those buildings. The age of these buildings means that those who are least able to afford it face much higher utility costs due to the poor design, poor orientation and construction, the low levels of insulation and the poor energy efficiency of these old buildings. We believe we can do better, and the simple fact is that we can upgrade our public housing stock through investment in new public housing.

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