Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 30 March 2017) . . Page.. 1379 ..
progress in this space we should all remember that it is a right of every person to access affordable, safe and secure housing that is appropriate to their needs.
MS ORR (Yerrabi) (4.16): Housing affordability is an issue of significance to all Canberrans. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Rights outlines that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their family, including housing and necessary social services.
Canberrans rightfully expect to have access to affordable housing; however, we know that a significant number of people are unable to enter the current housing market. The government understands that households among the bottom 40 per cent of income earners still face housing challenges in Canberra, sometimes paying more than 30 per cent of their income for housing. They need support and viable options that lead to having a home of their own.
The ACT government has continued to take action through the implementation of affordable housing action plans and policies that seek to create a more equitable social housing framework for the ACT. The government’s affordable housing action plan is built on the Canberra community’s longstanding commitment to providing quality housing for all, especially the vulnerable. The action plans have included a total of 97 individual measures aimed at improving housing and land supply to the market, increasing diversity of housing products, reducing barriers to home ownership, addressing homelessness, improving rental affordability, supporting ageing in place, and improving the efficiency of property taxes through the abolition of conveyance duty.
Of the 97 measures contained in phases 1 to 3 of the affordable housing action plan, 63 have been completed, 31 are implemented and ongoing, while four were withdrawn due to market circumstances. The action plan was designed to address housing affordability across all incomes and tenure types. It contained objectives aimed to address needs across the housing spectrum, including the public and private housing supply, community rental housing and tax reform. Inclusionary zoning and planning reform were also examined, as well as the more specific needs of the ageing population and the homeless.
The ACT government has prioritised accessible and sustainable design as part of the plan, and ensured diverse sizes, prices and locations of blocks in Land Development Agency estates, including compact blocks and affordable house and land packages. Sustainable development outcomes were explored through built form in Bonner, which included 12 contemporary display homes. All homes achieved a six-star energy rating and showcased the latest in modern living and sustainability. Demonstration villages were also built in Franklin and Dunlop showcasing innovation in affordable housing design, most of which were sold at or below the government’s affordable price threshold.
Housing requirements for households earning in the lower 40 per cent of incomes differ greatly from those in public and community housing and those renting in the private market, so we need to keep addressing the issue and identifying new ways to meet the challenges we face.