Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 May 2017) . . Page.. 1546 ..
themselves feel worthy with a roof over their heads and so they are able to enjoy living in a wonderful community.
I will say something that could be slightly controversial, that is, the Northbourne flats were something that we as a government have watched, and we let ourselves down by allowing them to be there for as long as they were. They were damp, they were cold and they were not very comfortable for the tenants. We have done something about that. We have finally moved those tenants out and re-homed a lot of them in the suburbs very close to that area. We are now looking to build new houses for these people to have warmth, wonderful facilities and engagement in communities where people are loving and caring and wonderful. It would be a shame if we did not see these housing developments go ahead. There are so many people in our community that rely on them so heavily.
I understand that it is quite distressing to have change in your suburb. As Ms Le Couteur mentioned earlier, some of these suburbs have had these vacant blocks of land since they were established 40 or 50 years ago. We know change can be difficult, and that is why the minister, ACT Housing and the task force have been working with the community on consultations about how we can make the most of these developments to ensure that we are supportive of everyone in our community.
I thank Ms Lawder for raising this matter today. It is really important that we all sit here and have a conversation, calmly, peacefully and in this wonderful chamber that we have all been elected to, to make the lives of our local Canberrans as good as we possibly can. And I thank you for allowing me to say a few words about that.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (12.06), by leave: I thank members for their indulgence. It seems that with the timing of the various amendments and such that this is the only way I can speak on matters other than Mr Hanson’s amendment. Of course, worthy though Mr Hanson’s amendment may be, there are other issues to discuss.
This is a really complex issue, and that is why we are talking about it for so long. We are looking at good planning. We have probably fairly adequately canvassed the issues around Territory Plan amendments, but the technical amendments are significant to this tangled tale. I think it is very unfortunate that there has been a whole series of amendments. In fact, on my reading of it, it goes back to 2003 in terms of changes to this part. The definition of “supportive housing” was in variation 200. I think very few of us knew that; I always called it the garden city variation.
Part of that variation said that public housing at that stage was possible in community facility zones, assuming you considered ACT Housing to be an organisation that supports its tenants. But, in practice, it was virtually impossible to build any housing, even aged care, on community facility zones at that time because the relevant code made the proponent demonstrate that the land was not needed for any other community facilities.
The other variations in 2014 and 2015 have been canvassed already in this debate. I think it would have been really helpful if ACTPLA, through the planning minister,