Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 June 2015) . . Page.. 1974 ..
except for two parts. This includes Dickson flats and connected vacant land, Northbourne flats in Turner, Owen flats, Dickson garden flats and Northbourne flats. On 18 February this year in this place Minister Berry said:
Canberra has always had a unique approach to public housing. This has become known as the salt and peppering of housing to distribute social housing throughout our suburbs and regions. It is a good thing and it will continue.
By relocating all public housing tenants out of Northbourne Avenue corridor, how does this continue the salt and pepper approach to public housing? Are the government really committed to continuing the salt and pepper approach to public housing? Will they commit to ensuring that new public housing properties will be built along the Northbourne Avenue corridor?
Quite simply, this government seems to want the public housing tenants who live along Northbourne Avenue out of sight and out of mind. The government wants them off the Northbourne Avenue corridor to fund its light rail project using proceeds from the sale of the land. The government’s planned redevelopment of the Northbourne Avenue corridor does not seem to fit with its so-called support for salt and peppering. In this place on 6 May, Ms Fitzharris said:
I think most Canberrans would agree that we can measure the strength and success of our community by how we provide opportunities for our most vulnerable members … And one of the ways we can support the most vulnerable people in our community is through providing good quality housing.
I agree with Ms Fitzharris. It is all very well to make nice, warm, fuzzy statements like that, but does the reality match up? Do the plans and actions of the government match up with what they say in this place? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians in the bottom income quintile are much more likely to experience transport difficulties than those in the top income quintile. Transport disadvantage is experienced by specific subgroups in the population—for example, families with young children, people with a disability and Indigenous Australians.
Transport disadvantage is also common in specific geographical locations, such as outer urban areas as well as rural and remote Australia. In outer urban areas, transport disadvantage is the result of a range of intersecting factors, including poor public transport infrastructure, a higher proportion of low income households and the need to travel further distances in order to get to places of employment, services and activities. Young mothers and sole parents are particularly vulnerable to transport disadvantage. For these groups, transport difficulties can play a key role in social exclusion.
Public transport can be difficult for people with disability. Factors such as accessibility, communication about changes or cancelled services and malfunctioning equipment can all contribute to transport disadvantage. Yet the government is making the Northbourne corridor—currently well served by buses, which is often remarked upon by the public housing tenants along that corridor, and in the future potentially having light rail—available to those in the higher quintiles rather than those in the lower quintiles.