Page 3766 - Week 10 - Thursday, 14 September 2017

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I know that the Assembly inquired into supermarket policy in the last term. I hope that, in implementing policies like these, the government takes very seriously the impact on local businesses and access to amenities at local shops. We all want our local businesses to thrive. The best thing the government can do is to support the set-up and then allow businesses to do what they do best: get on with running their business. Funding for the upkeep of common areas like open spaces and public toilets, the maintenance of roads accessing the shops, and making sure there is ample and safe parking and support for local community groups to hold festivals, markets or food stalls are just some of the ways in which the government can and should help.

None of us wants to see our beloved local shops go from a thriving gathering place for Canberrans to desolate, boarded up, soulless places where Canberrans drive by, wistfully thinking of better times long gone. To all our hardworking business owners at the Kingston shops, I thank you for everything you do in making and keeping Kingston an integral part of the inner south, especially when times get tough.

Yerrabi electorate

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (4.32): I rise today to update the Assembly on my involvement with my electorate since our last sitting period. Since our August sitting period I have had the pleasure of being able to represent the minister for housing at the Community Housing Canberra scholarship presentation here at the Assembly. The Ken Horsham scholarships were presented to CHC housing patrons who are experiencing hardship but are endeavouring to excel in their fields of study. The Ken Horsham scholarships aim to remove some of the barriers to their goals by providing money for things like laptops, software, course fees and child care to support recipients in their educational pursuits. I was impressed by the diversity of students who were studying at college, undertaking apprenticeships at CIT, going to university and replacing or retraining for industry-specific registration of qualifications obtained internationally.

In the weeks following I was also able to join the minister for housing at a welcome ceremony to begin construction of CHC’s first land rent site. A tree-planting ceremony marked the commencement of the construction of 32 new affordable two and three-bedroom townhouses in Moncrieff. The properties will be delivered by CHC under the ACT government’s land rent scheme. These affordable properties will give a number of low income Canberra families the opportunity to realise the dream of owning their own home.

The government’s land rent scheme gives people the chance to rent land through a land rent lease at a rate of two per cent of the unimproved value of the land rather than purchasing the land to build a home. The lessee is then only required to get a loan for the value of the actual house. While it is encouraging to think how many individuals and families have been able to benefit from the land rent scheme, the ACT government will continue to look at ways to make housing more affordable, and I note the number of conversations already underway with the community as part of the towards a new housing strategy engagement. A number of CHC’s existing affordable rental tenants have taken up the opportunity to purchase one of the properties in the development in Moncrieff, in my electorate of Yerrabi.

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