Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 August 2017) . . Page.. 3130 ..
Not unreasonably, a number of communities impacted by this change were far from impressed. They felt duped by the nature of the amendment, they felt ambushed, they felt deprived of their community land and they felt that they had been ignored. Both the minister and I, and my colleagues, have attended meetings with community groups very unhappy about how they had been ambushed and fobbed off. In the end, more than 2,200 community members petitioned this government to vent their concerns and frustrations.
Eventually, the government conceded that it had to listen and take the community more seriously, and some adjustments have occurred. It has been suggested to me that the original developments may well have been ambit claims. I would like to perhaps give more credit to the government but who knows.
The prospect of relocating 1,288 dwellings by the asset recycling deadline is, indeed, a daunting one but the carrot at the end of that stick is a massive revenue take previously estimated at $448 million from the sale of public assets, mainly public housing, and of course this will be ploughed into the capital metro project and not the alleviation of public housing pressures. The asset recycling agreement deadline of 30 June 2019 means that the government has had to really get cracking on it to reap the incentive payments from this initiative.
It seems a bit ironic that the imperative for moving public housing residents out of the Northbourne corridor was not driven by any sense of compassion or altruism for the welfare of residents but rather to raise a quick quid for the tram. We were reminded by the Auditor-General that, for every dollar spent on the tram project, it would only return 49c of transport benefit and that the only way to rescue the cost-benefit equation for the light rail project was to conjure up some property value benefits to throw into that mix. And to make this happen, the residents of the Northbourne corridor had to go, and go in very large numbers. Only time will tell if the 49c in the dollar is improved on.
In conclusion, I cannot criticise giving our public housing residents better accommodation where they have been living in very old and inefficient structures, but likewise the government cannot ambush communities whose residents, when they first moved into their chosen suburbs, had a legitimate expectation of what would be done with their community land. It seems paradoxical that the government is spending $608 million on public housing renewal when the number of public housing dwellings is dropping by almost 300 between 2016-17 and 2017-18. Surely something is out of whack.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety, Minister for Corrections and Minister for Mental Health) (4.35): I welcome the opportunity to outline some of the ways my climate change and sustainability portfolio will continue to assist Canberrans to reduce their energy consumption, reduce their waste and build a sustainable and prosperous Canberra for future generations to enjoy.