Page 406 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 20 February 2018

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MS CODY: Minister, how has the public housing renewal program changed the lives of some of the ACT public housing tenants?

MS BERRY: I have been very lucky to have been able to welcome new public housing tenants to their new homes and hand over the keys. The quality and efficiency of these new homes are more than they have ever experienced and are definitely making a difference to the lives of public housing tenants in the ACT.

Last week, I informed members about the photography exhibition that is upstairs in the Assembly building. I was happy to be able to welcome public housing tenants into the place to have a look at the exhibition photos of themselves, telling stories of their lives in their older homes but also, importantly, in their new homes and how happy they are to be in these newer homes. I had public housing tenants from the champions group come to visit the exhibition yesterday. They encouraged me to continue to talk up public housing and public housing tenants and what a difference these new homes are making to their lives.

MR STEEL: Minister, what are some of the barriers and challenges in renewing our public housing stock in Canberra?

MS BERRY: This has been a challenging program, but it is something that the ACT government is incredibly proud to have been delivering on, with 11 per cent of stock renewal, in addition to the regular Housing ACT replacement program. It has provided some challenges in ensuring that there are places available, that there is land available to build on and that we are meeting the needs of our tenants in ensuring that the housing is built where they want to live. An important part of this program has been that tenants have been able to talk with Housing ACT representatives and, through the linked group, to identify where in Canberra best suits their needs, whether that is with family, being closer to education or sporting facilities, or being closer to shopping centres—

Mr Parton: Or on Northbourne Avenue, maybe.

MS BERRY: Including along Northbourne Avenue as well, along that corridor, and making sure that people have housing to meet their needs.

Mr Parton interjecting

MS BERRY: While some of the projects have been met with resistance, and by some members opposite, extensive consultations have taken place. At the end of the day, this has been about supporting public housing tenants into new homes so that they can best be integrated into our community. Of course, those opposite would rather that they were out of sight and out of mind, rather than in their own suburbs.

ACT Emergency Services Agency—interstate assistance

MR STEEL: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, what assistance has the ACT Emergency Services Agency provided to our neighbours in New South Wales during the 2017-18 bushfire season?

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