Page 1989 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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Many housing residents in the inner north have lived there for decades. Some have families who have grown up in the area, going to local schools, making local friends, and generally being part of the local community. The Greens think that it is important to work to help people who wish to remain in their communities as well as those who wish to move to other areas of Canberra, perhaps to access facilities in other areas or to be closer to their families.

What we should all be able to agree on is that we need a diversity of public housing types—a diversity of building types on offer, with or without gardens, and a diversity of areas, with some housing in areas more evenly distributed across Canberra. This is what the government is working towards.

All of that said, I will not be supporting Ms Lawder’s motion as it is written, even though, as I noted in my remarks, I certainly support some of the ideas there and I believe there are some positive elements to it. I will be supporting Ms Berry’s amendment, for some of the reasons I have outlined today, with the additional information she has provided there, the reinforcement of the work the government is doing and its commitment to ensuring that public housing tenants in the ACT have good quality properties to live in, that we do renew those properties that are outdated and unsuitable, and that we do it in a way that is supportive of tenants, allows us to consult closely with them, maximises their choice and includes development in the Northbourne Avenue corridor.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.32): I would like to thank Ms Berry, Mr Corbell, Mr Smyth and Mr Rattenbury for their contributions to the discussion today. There are a number of points on which we agree and obviously a number on which we disagree. I reiterate that I think it is a pity that it took light rail for the government to suddenly take seriously their responsibilities with respect to these rundown properties.

Mr Smyth pointed out that it is 15 years since looking after those properties was raised in the multi-unit strategy. Apparently, Housing ACT will provide up to two written offers of an alternative property to each tenant. I am aware of an example where an elderly lady wished to relocate to Belconnen. She was offered a property in Belconnen. Unfortunately, the bus stop was too far away for her and involved a hill either to or from the bus stop. She ended up in Ainslie, which was not her first choice of location, but the place in Ainslie, which was her second offer, was close to a bus stop.

The uncertainty about the timing and where they end up is distressing for residents. I reiterate that. Perhaps I misheard, but I reject any suggestion that perhaps we over here are spreading fear and division. I challenge the minister to back that up with anything concrete, because I certainly have not spread anything whatsoever, let alone fear and division.

In fact, a representative of the residents of Owen flats is here today. I do not think she feels I have been spreading any fear and division. I would like to thank Marie for coming along today and for the advocacy that she and some of the other tenants have been undertaking on behalf of the residents. Well done to those who are willing to

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