Page 4200 - Week 13 - Thursday, 19 November 2015

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the sites in Coombs were recently notified for public comment. The Environment and Planning Directorate is now considering these applications. These sites are close to the future Coombs shops and school and are located near John Gorton Drive and its public transport routes.

In addition to the construction program we are also looking to purchase suitable residential properties from the private sector to support the public housing renewal program. We called for expressions of interest in June and July 2015 and received over 30 proposals ranging from completed properties to undeveloped land awaiting development application.

The task force has evaluated the proposals based on location, design, access to services and transport, and value for money. Seventeen proposals were deemed suitable for further negotiation, with potential for up to 200 dwellings to contribute to the public housing renewal program. We are finalising negotiations with the successful proponents to ensure the properties will be suitable for public housing and will help us in meeting the needs of tenants now and into the future. We have identified more than half of the 1,288 replacement dwellings and we are continuing to negotiate and agree on locations for the remaining dwellings in both new and established areas.

The renewal program, including construction and purchasing, is supporting the government’s determination to ensure public housing is more evenly spread across the city. This breaks down concentrations of disadvantage and gives tenants opportunities to make a positive contribution and to share in the benefits of local communities. The properties that will be delivered from this process will also improve outcomes for tenants by providing more modern and energy efficient accommodation. Through the expression of interest and by engaging local contractors, we are providing strong support to the construction industry and our local economy.

We have been open and transparent about the public housing renewal program. When we have identified sites and are satisfied that they meet the requirements for public

housing we have engaged with local communities and sought their input.

Representatives of the task force have attended more than 10 different community council meetings and other resident group meetings since March this year. Importantly, there are also regular updates to the task force website, along with notices and newsletters to the surrounding areas. There have been numerous local meetings with schools and churches, and we are working to achieve the best outcome for all involved. It is heartening to hear that, despite some resistance in some sections of the community earlier in the year, public housing is now being welcomed into communities. This tells me, Madam Speaker, that we really are an inclusive city.

Eligible tenants and applications from across Canberra will be considered for places in this new accommodation based on their needs and the availability of suitable public housing. It will not be limited to tenants relocating from Northbourne Avenue or other multi-unit properties, although these tenants will be given first consideration.

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