Page 1985 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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strategy to fix all this 15 years ago. It was called a multi-unit strategy. My memory is that anything over 30 units was considered to be a large multi-unit site. We started this work; they came to office and they stopped it. There is the bleating, the words we have heard today about how they are helping public housing; they have neglected it for 15 years.

It was the Canberra Liberals that got rid of Macpherson Court, 144 bedsits with a disproportionately high population of people with mental health issues. It is now City Edge, which has won numerous awards for urban redevelopment and, 10 or 15 years later, is testament to what should have started years ago. We got rid of Lachlan Court in Braddon, which I think is now called the National, and all of that money was reinvested. And we started the work on Burnie Court; we announced that it was to be the next one. It was 364 bedsits, a place of intimidation and crime. The only people who probably were sad to see Burnie Court go were the police at Woden, because they knew where all the likely contenders were, they told us laughingly one day. That started back in 1999, 2000, 2001.

It is to the eternal discredit of those opposite that they neglected that process, allowed the deterioration of big flats to continue and allowed people to remain in what is substandard housing 15 years later. The flats were not real good back in the late 1990s, but they are even worse now. To have them here lecturing us is quite galling. Most of it is inaccurate and they are wrong.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.18): I thank Ms Lawder for bringing this motion to the Assembly today. However negatively framed her motion is, I trust that the intent is to highlight the importance of public housing in promoting social inclusion. Perhaps Ms Lawder, as opposition spokesperson for housing, could play a stronger role on behalf of the Canberra Liberals outside the chamber in promoting the benefits of a salt and pepper approach to public housing across the territory, as recent media commentary has been silent on the Liberals’ apparent support for social inclusion in this portfolio. Given some of the recent public commentary on the relocation of public housing, I would have welcomed Ms Lawder’s contribution to that debate.

But I will take this motion before us today at face value, and I will speak to some of the elements of it. The issue of retaining public housing along the Northbourne corridor is close to my heart and that of the ACT Greens. I am keen to ensure that all residents along the corridor can take advantage of the many benefits that the light rail project will bring.

I am on the record very publicly for my view, as a member for Molonglo, as a Greens member of this place and as a minister in this government, that public housing must remain in the inner north and in the Northbourne Avenue corridor. I am also clearly on the record as saying that our public housing is ageing, some of it is unsuitable for our tenants and there is great need for renewal and modernisation. I do not believe these views are mutually exclusive.

I would like to draw to the attention of the Assembly, and also that of Ms Lawder, a media release on 30 June last year issued at a time when I was the Minister for Housing. It was a joint release with the now Chief Minister. We stated quite clearly that cabinet had just endorsed:

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