Page 1374 - Week 04 - Thursday, 30 March 2017
There clearly needs to be an increase of supply of accessible, affordable housing to rent and to buy for households in the bottom 40 per cent income quintiles. This could include establishing a land release pipeline to improve certainty of supply, targeting supply side affordability measures to low and moderate income groups, and including access to affordable rental as well as home ownership in all policy initiatives addressing housing affordability.
When a Greens member was the Minister for Housing in 2014 the ACT government committed to grow public housing stock for the first time in a decade. This was a welcome advancement and I am pleased that it is continuing today with the ACT housing urban renewal project. In doing this we have to be careful not to place our public housing residents in locations with poor access to public transport, schools and other amenities. As we have noted today and yesterday, we need to meaningfully consult the broader community about the placement of public housing to ensure that it meets the needs of future tenants but also, of course, to ensure that the community is given the chance to have meaningful input into the proposed development, be it about size, orientation, traffic issues, open space, bushfire protection design etcetera. And I cannot emphasise enough that there needs to be meaningful consultation.
Last night’s closure of a meeting at Weston Creek because too many people came is testament to the fact that people do want to have a say, they are concerned, they do want to be heard. For this Assembly to govern well it is vital that such a consultation not only occurs but that the feedback that is provided is considered and actually incorporated into planning. We should also be working towards the goal of having a 10 per cent affordable housing component of urban infill developments owned by government that are released from 2018. Obviously we need to set income criteria for applications to ensure that properties go to people in genuine need. And we then, of course, need to address the issue of windfall profits when affordable houses are sold on.
The ACT currently has an affordable housing action plan but we need a genuine whole-of-government approach to affordable housing to achieve this. We are pleased that there is a commitment to a development of an affordable housing strategy in the Greens-Labor parliamentary agreement. We also need, as well as talking about affordable housing in urban infill, to look at the income and asset tests for affordable housing in the 20 per cent greenfield housing commitments to ensure that the plan is actually meeting its target.
The affordable housing strategy needs to consider the creation and maintenance of a permanent affordable housing action plan steering committee made up of community, government and industry stakeholders to oversee its effective implementation. This steering committee would hopefully have close links with the soon to be existing City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency.
Equally important is that these new agencies need to have representation from the social and community housing sector on their boards. This was also, of course, part of the parliamentary agreement. They will help guide decision-making and ensure that there are constant considerations of the needs of those who require social housing. We