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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 June 2015) . . Page.. 1982 ..

I would also like to let members know that the Northside Community Service, which has been assisting public housing at Owen flats, will be using a vacant unit, unit No 31, to provide a meeting point for staff and tenants to discuss their needs in a confidential manner particularly as the weather cools in the ACT. I will give those dates to you now: Thursday, 18 June, Tuesday, 23 June and Thursday, 25 June from 11.30 to 1.30. I hope that, with the information that I have been able to provide to the chamber today, members will be able to go and reassure and provide information to those tenants about the relocation program and have an opportunity to listen to what their needs are and put them in touch with government services or with Northside Community Service officers to assist them in making sure that they are well informed all the way through this process.

I do want to thank Ms Lawder for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. The government’s housing renewal program is an ambitious program, and it will benefit the entire ACT community. The government committed in May this year to reporting to the Assembly later in 2015 on the replacement housing being delivered for tenants who will be relocating as part of the program and I look forward to speaking further on public housing renewal at this time. I commend the amendment to Ms Lawder’s motion to the Assembly.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (4.07): I would like to commend Ms Berry on her amendment and the very good work that she is doing to drive an inclusive, equitable and visionary agenda to provide housing fit for people when it comes to our public housing stock.

Canberra is a very inclusive community, and public housing plays a key role for some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged. As a city, we have a very proud history of public housing, right from the early days of the city when housing was built for newly arrived workers to build the national capital. Since self-government, successive governments, including this one, have continued to prioritise public housing for Canberra.

Because of this longstanding commitment, we also have some of the oldest public housing in the country, with an average age of more than 30 years. And much of this housing, particularly along Northbourne Avenue, is no longer fit for purpose. The buildings do not suit families. They do not support ageing in place. They certainly do not provide disability access. The buildings are expensive to maintain and to live in when it comes to water bills and electricity bills, and it is simply not viable to bring them up to contemporary building or energy efficiency standards.

This government has committed to a far-ranging public housing renewal program to build new, modern accommodation to replace just under 1,300 of these properties which have reached the end of their useful life. This new public housing will be contemporary, with good design and good construction, far exceeding current standards for the housing that people live in today. These homes will go beyond compliance with our current legislation and standards. We will be requiring minimum six-star energy ratings and designs that take advantage of natural sunlight and

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