Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 May 2017) . . Page.. 1544 ..
be met by the private rental market. A multidisciplinary team assesses the support needs of individual tenants and those who are relocating as part of the renewal program, and there is a range of community agencies helping them during their move to a new community.
Housing ACT also conducts regular visits to public housing properties to help tenants establish and maintain effective and sustainable tenancies. We are improving the quality of homes and the range of locations available for Canberrans on low incomes, and we will continue to deliver our commitments to public housing in the ACT.
I want to comment on what the Canberra Liberals are proposing in their amendment. The Canberra Liberals are calling on the ACT government, particularly at paragraph (2)(a) of this motion, to “cease development or construction of any new social or public housing on CFZ land, except where specifically for aged or disability housing”. That completely cuts out—
Mrs Jones: It is in the original motion.
MS BERRY: Sorry; it is in the original motion. It completely cuts out housing for a whole group of people who desperately need the support of our community. That would mean no housing for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, no housing for young people who have nowhere else to go, and no housing for people who might be living with a mental health issue where other private rental could not possibly accommodate them. We could not possibly agree to anything that would discount housing for people who most need it.
The ACT government is in an interesting situation where we find ourselves often in an unwinnable position. On the one hand we are criticised for having the highest level of homelessness in the ACT, even though it is only slightly above the national average of about two people per thousand. On the other hand, when we talk about ways to try to address that and support people into better and newer housing that meets their needs, we come up against these kinds of blockages. We want to try to find a way through it by reaching a consensus with the community.
The government is asking, in existing communities with community facilities land, to use a small piece of that land to build public housing for people who most need it. We are asking existing communities to include these people in their communities, share this small piece of land, and give these people a chance to have a decent and fulfilling life within their suburbs. We want to continue to have that conversation with communities. The ACT government, Housing ACT and the task force hope that the community groups and associations will continue to talk to us about outcomes that can meet the needs of existing communities as well as the needs of our public housing tenants, and build stronger and more inclusive communities in the ACT.
MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (11.59): Thank you to all my colleagues who have spoken on Ms Lawder’s motion, the amendment and then Mr Hanson’s amendment. I am a product of public housing, and that is something I hold very dear. Every conversation I have had with the public housing tenants has been very emotional for me as well as for them. I feel their emotion, I feel their fears and I feel their concerns.