Page 1931 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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Since becoming minister, I have met many of these people—the housing tenants at Oaks Estate who are doing great work, together with Vinnies, in building a strong community; Muslim women who are able to take swimming lessons through programs which recognise and embrace difference; kids coming through the justice system learning how to cook at Bimberi, and not just how to cook a meal but how to lead a healthy life; and women who have left abusive relationships and come to crisis services, such as Beryl and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service. These are the people I think about when we talk about budgets being about people.

Domestic violence receives vital attention in the government’s budget, something the Canberra Liberals have not spent any time talking about in response to this motion today. The response to this issue is not just about money. You cannot achieve generational change in culture simply through spending. That is why, on top of the $250,000 in additional funding for our crisis response services, the budget focuses on measures to educate kids in our schools and the broader school communities, to get better data and to put the necessary efforts into prevention. I welcome the positive responses from Mirjana Wilson from the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and Frances Crimmins from the YWCA reported in the paper today. While we are talking about people’s responses to this budget, we should note that they had positive things to say. And we are all in agreement about the response to domestic violence. Our government is already embracing national action which will take this agenda forward.

In the housing portfolio the government is undertaking the biggest renewal of public housing stock since self-government. Let us remember that we have the most housing stock per head of any state or territory. We have some of the most effective homelessness services and, through this, a detailed picture of homelessness in our city. Our decision to replace 1,288 properties with new homes is the right thing to do for equality, for fairness and for inclusion in our community. More than that, this public housing renewal is key to the urban renewal process, as it has been in the past. Some people have fallen into the trap of assuming that they know what public housing tenants want, need or ought to have. I suggest they do as we do, and as we will continue to do—talk with and listen to these people. There is plenty of Canberra and community pride in our public housing tenants, and this budget responds to this.

We have also taken another positive step towards housing affordability, particularly at the lower end of the market. The buyer of a $300,000 home will save $2,900 in stamp duty compared to before the introduction of tax reform. The buyer of a $500,000 home will save $5,900.

Finally, I want to talk about Belco pride. Like every suburb and town centre, there is great change happening in my community. There is $18.4 million for Belconnen high; I know from my conversations, talking to the principal and the school community, how far this money will go in modernising this fantastic school. There is extra mowing in every suburb and maintenance at the 27 local shops in Belconnen, each one central to its local community. Many of us are working longer hours, and I know I often use my local shopping centres as a pantry; it is great to see that they will be getting maintenance, probably more maintenance than my own pantry at home.

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