Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1267 ..
to our house. I have lived in a house with government housing tenants on both sides, and we have done a lot for those people. I have called the police when one of the women was being abused by her partner. I have reached out to a sickly elderly couple on the other side. Even in my present house I have such neighbours, and we work very closely with them so that their lives might be improved by their proximity to other people who have more to offer and are able to reach out to them. I condemn the placement and the size of these developments.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (4.51): I rise to support Ms Berry’s amendment and am pleased to have an opportunity to speak about public housing in our city and the current public housing renewal program that is being delivered by the government. It seems timely for us to be discussing public housing this afternoon following the discussion that took place in the Assembly this morning about the importance of inclusion in our city. Appropriate and affordable housing, including public housing, is of course an integral part of any social inclusion agenda. I certainly welcome the public housing that is in my neighbourhood and in my electorate, and I welcome the relocation of public housing tenants within my neighbourhood and my electorate.
Those of us on this side of the chamber understand this and work to ensure that Canberra has appropriate public housing stock. Of course we know we can always do better, and that is why the ACT government is committed to renewing our stock of public housing. We take our responsibility to our community very seriously. This responsibility is all the more crucial as the federal Liberals continue to cut back services, whether this is social housing, community legal centres and other measures to support the broader community.
It seems clear that those on the other side of the chamber have no real understanding of the issues around public housing and a salt and pepper approach. A salt and pepper approach means the public housing tenants will have the choice to be part of various suburbs throughout the city. It is about ensuring that we replace old concentrations of housing, some comprising more than 200 units—and some of those are near my house, and I am happy to have, as I said, public housing tenants near where I live, and I support them—with a mixture of detached houses, compact homes and smaller groups of townhouses and apartments.
As the amendment moved by Minister Berry states, the current designs for new public housing do in fact consider the look and feel of the surrounding community. Renewing our public housing will better tenants’ needs now and into the future, creating a more sustainable public housing system. It also contributes to the development and regeneration of urban areas.
I note that the original motion by Mr Parton calls on the ACT government to cancel certain planned housing developments in Chapman, Wright and Holder. I would reiterate, as the Deputy Chief Minister has said, that it is hard to have a consultation process on a proposal if you do not tell people what the proposal is. You have got to