Page 2363 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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were a total of 2,166 applications on Housing ACT’s priority, high needs and standard waiting lists. As became clear during estimates hearings—I will repeat it—these 2,166 applications currently on the list do not include people being relocated out of public housing properties on Northbourne Avenue. There is, we heard during estimates, an additional waiting list for these people.

First Point data shows that 726 people were waiting for accommodation and homelessness support from First Point in May 2015—726 people. The costs of homelessness are high. Research shows that the cost of rough sleeping to the community is more than $27,000 per person per year, and this cost rises the longer a person experiences homelessness. Not only does homelessness take a toll on the individual—it makes it hard to maintain school or study and it leaves people vulnerable to long-term unemployment and chronic ill health—but it takes a toll on the wider community. Having a safe and secure place to live enables a person to live a socially inclusive life and access education, health and employment opportunities.

On 17 June this year former ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said that his biggest regret while Chief Minister was housing affordability, land planning and supply. I will read from his article. I did not really know Jon Stanhope, though I met him once or twice in my professional capacity before I joined the Assembly. But from reading this particular article about his views on the affordable housing action plan, he sounds like a pretty reasonable kind of bloke to me. He says his greatest frustration or regret whilst Chief Minister was the issue of housing affordability, land planning and supply. I quote:

The Affordable Housing Action Plan, which I initiated in 2006, was not fully implemented at the time I left office in 2011 and has clearly still not been realised. This is despite all the levers for implementing the plan being in the hands of the ACT Government. It is not only in the position of a monopoly owner of all the land for sale it also controls and operates the land planning and regulatory regime applying to its use and disposal.

The Affordable Housing Action Plan is a comprehensive and innovative plan aimed at improving housing affordability for renters and these entering ownership. In particular, it provided a blueprint for overcoming barriers to home ownership experienced by a growing proportion of Canberra residents.

Those most affected by the crisis in affordability are, of course, young families and a large and growing cohort of Canberra households on moderate incomes who have been priced out of the market for a modest sized (three bedroom) detached house in suburban Canberra.

The previous Chief Minister says it is quite clear that the government’s own affordable housing action plan has failed to deliver on what it promised.

It is unfortunate that this ACT Labor government has done little, if anything, to address and alleviate Canberra’s affordable housing crisis. Canberra’s affordable housing crisis and long public housing waiting list make it very difficult for people to get out of homelessness. We have fabulous homelessness services in the ACT; there are a number of fantastic people who work in the homelessness sector. But without exits from homelessness, without the provision of additional affordable housing,

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