Page 1543 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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of tenants. I have heard stories from tenants who have felt that this has given them a new lease of life, tenants who have been glad that they could stay in an area where they had connections, tenants who have been given a great boost in confidence by moving into a home that they can be proud of, and tenants who have been happy to move into an area that is closer to their home or their work.

The modern amenities design and minimum six-star energy efficiency ratings of these new homes make a major difference for the tenants who are relocating, helping to reduce heating and cooling costs. Builders have also been impressed by the quality of the homes. A number of the builders involved in the program have informally advised the public housing renewal task force that they now believe that the quality of the construction is higher than what can be found in the private sector.

The impact of this program on the ACT’s development industry is significant. We are setting expectations about quality amongst the builders who have been involved, and we have established processes to give the private market opportunities to assist with the supply of replacement housing. We are improving awareness and understanding amongst the construction industry about the requirements for livable and adaptable housing, and the program has also resulted in the creation of hundreds of jobs. We have heard from builders and their subcontractors who have been able to employ more apprentices, and from developers who have been able to get other projects off the ground.

The construction of new public housing properties on sites throughout Canberra supports us in delivering these benefits to the ACT economy, as well as providing choice for public housing tenants. Tenants have aims and hopes for a good life, and in many cases these can be found in the security of a safe home that meets their needs. The proposals that have recently been announced support our delivery of low density public housing that is a mix of free-standing homes, small groups of townhouses, units and compact homes.

These groups are far smaller than the existing concentrations of public housing where, in some cases, there are hundreds of dwellings in clustered and single complexes. The design and layout of these proposals is something that we are keen to work on with the community. The consultation sessions held last month were well attended, with hundreds of people coming along to hear about the proposals and provide their feedback. There have since been many more meetings with local residents and community groups, including some which I have hosted, as well as with members of the Assembly.

The government has received hundreds of pieces of written feedback, and we are working through all of those to provide a response and information for the community. The conversation with the community is ongoing, and over coming weeks these community groups and representatives of the community councils will be meeting with the public housing renewal task force to continue these discussions.

Public housing is critically important for our community, and the new homes constructed as part of this program, including those on community facility zoned land, will be allocated to eligible tenants who have housing and support needs that cannot

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