Page 2492 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 August 2017

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MS BERRY: I thank Ms Orr for the supplementary. The ACT government has been proactive and responsive in seeking to address housing affordability in the ACT. By many comparisons, the ACT is doing well in responding to the housing needs of Canberrans, including the most disadvantaged households. On average measures, the ACT continues to rank first in terms of home loan and rental affordability across all jurisdictions. It is recognised, however, that market-driven initiatives have not always achieved equitable outcomes across the income quintiles and a narrower focus on providing support for households in the lowest two income quintiles is needed to address the challenge of housing affordability.

The affordable housing advisory group has been established to provide an independent, external perspective of the challenges of housing affordability in the ACT and the possible responses that might be considered by the government. The group is providing guidance and advice on affordable housing and homelessness policy and, in particular, on possible actions which could be included in the new ACT housing strategy.

The group has been chosen for their independent external expertise and reflects my and the government’s desire to engage with a broader and different group of stakeholders on this important community issue. The group has been meeting monthly over the past five months. Opportunities for action have been explored in the areas of planning, regulatory and policy reform, housing supply and diversity, targeting of housing support, choice and flexibility, and measures for strong and sustainable public housing.

The group has provided advice around content for engagement and how to target specific groups who may be difficult to engage with, and will assist in the facilitation of focus groups by hosting events and reaching out to their stakeholders.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, could you advise on the arrangements for the housing and homelessness summit in October?

MS BERRY: I thank Ms Cheyne for the supplementary question. In accordance with the parliamentary agreement, the government has committed resources in the budget to convene a homelessness summit in 2017, bringing together all key stakeholders to develop innovative proposals to combat homelessness. This will be held, as I said, on 17 October 2017.

The target audience for the summit includes service provider organisations and participants in the community consultations and focus group discussions. The summit’s goals are to provide an overview of what we have heard so far from the community and stakeholders; provide an opportunity to discuss, refine and prioritise possible outcomes that could be included in the new housing strategy; and continue to build a deliberative partnership and shared ownership with the community to tackle the challenges of affordable housing and homelessness. Summit attendees, who will include some of our federal parliamentarians, will workshop possible actions that could be part of the new housing strategy document and provide their perspective on prioritisation strategies.

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