Page 1564 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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MS BERRY: Thank you for the question, Mr Steel. We are replacing 1,288 dwellings that have hundreds and hundreds of people living together in unsustainable, poor quality housing that was built for another time. It is no longer suitable for our public housing tenants. It no longer meets their needs. We want to make sure that we provide better quality housing that better suits the needs of our tenants, that is easier to maintain and easier to cool, and to heat in Canberra’s winters. I do not think there is any denying that that is the best outcome for our public housing community here in the ACT, particularly in those high density areas within the city.

We know that advantages come when you bring people together and you have people who can provide support to people who need it. That is part of the reason why, importantly, the conversations that I have been having with people in the community in some of these suburbs show that that is what they want to do. They want to make sure that people who move into their suburbs and are part of their neighbourhoods get the support that they need, the same way that we all came together and supported the public housing and community housing tenants at Gungahlin Common Ground. That is what we want to see happening across the community, because we know that it makes an absolute difference in people’s lives.

Public housing—social benefits

MR PETTERSSON: I have a question for the minister for housing. Minister, can you please outline to the Assembly the broad economic and social benefits of the ACT government’s public housing renewal program?

MS BERRY: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. As we have been discussing in this place yesterday and today, as part of the public housing renewal program, the ACT government will be replacing 1,288 dwellings from multi-unit public housing complexes along Northbourne Avenue and in other areas of Canberra. The new public housing in established and new suburbs is adding to quality choices available to Canberrans and boosting the economy in the local centres.

As well as providing safe and accessible homes for those who need them, this investment flows to many other sectors across the economy. The $550 million investment in the construction of replacement housing will see a greater level of social inclusion and equality. It will boost economic activity by creating short-term and long-term jobs for a wide range of people, including contractors and people who are working in other sectors.

For example, as part of the program, Housing ACT has been working with a number of removalist firms to facilitate the relocation process for tenants. The program has also provided a boost to that particular industry. The sale of the older multi-unit sites once tenants have moved homes stimulates the development industry and supports the renewal and rejuvenation of Canberra’s urban areas.

I look forward to this program building an even stronger and more supportive community into the future and delivering for those who are most in need in our communities.

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