Page 1358 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 May 2015

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With respect to the supportive housing project in Nicholls, I heard from someone who was at that meeting that there were maybe 150 people there. When asked by the directorate representative who supported the proposal, not a single hand was raised. When he asked who was against the proposal, everyone present raised their hand. I also understand from that meeting that a number of issues with the development application were identified, not least of which was a problem with the notification signage. If this government cannot even get a sign correct, what hope do we have for the rest of this project?

Ms Fitzharris noted in her motion that the government’s policy for public housing is for it to be, as much as possible, distributed across the city. As we know, the government is moving tenants out of public housing properties, including the ABC flats, the Northbourne flats and the Northbourne housing precinct in Dickson and Lyneham. Quite an extensive list of other public housing properties has been selected to be sold off, as part of the government’s public housing renewal program.

Let me be quite clear that we support salt and peppering but the location must be suitable, the local community must be respected, they must be consulted and they must be provided with proper information. When you work well with the local community, the outcomes are better for everyone concerned. It seems that this government has to be told that over and over again—Uriarra solar farm being another example of a lack of consultation.

An example where it has worked well is the Common Ground projects, not just here in Canberra but around Australia and indeed around the world, where the local community has quite embraced the project. That is a good outcome for everyone.

Public housing has historically played, and continues to play, an important role in Canberra. It is important for disadvantaged Canberrans. I would like to thank Ms Fitzharris for bringing forward her motion today. I support the motion and I look forward to hearing the government’s update to the Assembly later this year.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (10.31): I thank Ms Fitzharris for raising this motion today, because the provision of quality public housing for some of the most vulnerable members in our society has been at the core of what it is to be a Canberran since our city’s beginning. Our community demands that we turn these community values into action and that we, as community leaders, make sure our public housing tenants feel welcomed and included in all places and all communities in our city.

Canberra is an inclusive community and public housing plays a key role for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged Canberrans. We have a proud history of public housing, right from the early days of the city, when housing was built for newly arrived workers beginning to build the national capital. Since self-government successive ACT governments have continued to prioritise public housing for Canberra. However, as a result of this longstanding commitment, Canberra has the oldest public housing portfolio in the country, with an average age of dwellings of more than 30 years.

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