Page 2235 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 August 2017
I must say I am really pleased that the issue for the ACT in renewable electricity is maintaining 100 per cent rather than getting there. Nonetheless, maintaining is an important issue. It is important that we plan, because 2020 is not that far away. It looks like our transport system is likely to become more electrified, with light rail and electric cars. Certainly, our population is growing, so it is entirely possible that our electricity demand will grow, and we need to plan for it.
Recommendation 105 is something that is very dear to my heart. It is saying that, once the public housing renewal program is completed, the ACT government should have an ongoing program of public housing renewal and public housing building so that the proportion of public housing does not fall. We all know the angst in the community over the last couple years as a result of the public housing renewal program. I do not wish to revisit that issue. I just want to say that public housing is important. It is down to only about six per cent of the housing in the ACT. When I was first in the Assembly, it was closer to eight per cent. We as a community need to ensure that there is housing for the people of Canberra, and public housing is one way this will happen. We need to ensure that the proportion at least stays stable within the ACT.
Recommendations 109 and 110 both talk about the LDA and its recent purchases of rural land in the western ACT. Once upon a time we had the NCDC. They had a Y plan. The short part of the Y is in southern Canberra. Then the two arms of the Y go up fairly indefinitely into northern Canberra and New South Wales. What we seem to have now is not a Y plan. We have a blob plan. If you look at all the land that the LDA has purchased over the last couple of years—I think it is about $25 million worth of land—it is blobs to the west of Canberra. Again, as a member of the planning committee, we have been asking questions about this for some time. It is, to put it mildly, very unclear what planning justification there is for this.
Certainly, there needs to be a lot more planning work and a lot of serious, genuine community consultation on what the purpose of this land is. I understand that the Auditor-General may also be looking into this. I am not quite sure what particular issue she has in mind here, but these acquisitions need to be looked at, certainly from a planning point of view and possibly from other points of view.
Recommendation 124 talks about the NDIS and how it is interacting with existing not-for-profit organisations that are not being funded by the NDIS. It asks what the ACT is going to do. It calls on the Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion to work with other directorates to develop a clear strategy for going forward. I would hate to see another debate like the SHOUT debate. We all want to see our disabled community well supported. With the NDIS transitions, it is clear that there are some gaps and it is clear that we do not seem to know what we are going to do about it.
My last comment relates to recommendation 142, which is a plea for a lot more data about social and public housing. As I said earlier, this has been an aspect of considerable debate. I think the debate could be better informed and more respectful if there was more information. I commend all 158 recommendations to the Assembly.