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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2246 ..

You cannot look after people without giving them the appropriate buildings to live in. Let’s face it: the real driver for this sudden flurry of activity of urban renewal is so a government under pressure for its decisions about the tram can try to scrape up the money so it can say, “Look. We have a way to pay for this. We can access federal government additional funding for it and we have got some sort of plan.”

But this is not a plan that suits the needs of public housing tenants. It is a broad division—there are public tenants who are self-sufficient, who hold down jobs, who have been in their homes for a long time and who pay their way, and there is a special group of people we have a responsibility to as a community who need some assistance, who are in public housing because there is not anywhere else for them and who often have multiple needs which mean they need to be near centres that provide services so they can get to them quickly and cheaply.

I live in Chisholm. I love Chisholm. I am very proud of living in Chisholm. I chose to live in Chisholm. We are about to put another 20-odd units on the corner of Goldstein and Hambidge crescents in Chisholm. It is on one bus route. There is perhaps a second bus route within walking distance, but it is not particularly close to the shops if you do not have a lot of money to spend on bus fares. It is not particularly close to a lot of services. Members living in that area include a member in Fadden, a member in Macarthur, a member in Chisholm and a couple of other members from nearby, and they know a large percentage of the population in that part of eastern Tuggeranong rely entirely on their cars because they cannot do the things they need to do to support their lifestyle and their families and their occupations and their interests on the bus. That would apply to public housing tenants as well, in fact, probably more so.

There is a well-documented thing called forced car ownership, which is defined as the involuntary choice low income families have when owning or operating cars because no other transport options are available but they need the accessibility a car brings. Forced car ownership is a real risk to these public housing tenants who are being relocated to the outer suburbs of Canberra where it is difficult to provide public transport within reasonable walking distance of households.

We asked the government, Madam Assistant Speaker, as you would remember, where these people are going, and the answer was they are going to Nicholls, Monash and Chisholm, all well-known inner suburbs of Canberra! It is funny that the government’s own transport plan for Canberra 2012-31 says that in some areas on the fringe of suburbs the circuitous street layout and hilly topography can make it difficult to provide public transport within reasonable walking distance of some households and make the car an easier travel option. We all know for many suburbs that is absolutely the case. You have to question what the government is doing to ensure public housing is located close to public transport and key services. No doubt we will have the response, “Yes, these are all close to bus routes,” and well they may be, but it is about time. If you have to be in Civic during the day and you are coming from Chisholm—I have to admit I have not caught a bus from Nicholls into Civic recently, but it is a similar distance from Chisholm to town—it takes time and it can be difficult to get connections.

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