Page 1258 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 11 April 2018

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MS BERRY: I thank Ms Orr for the question. The challenges of addressing housing affordability and homelessness are complex. The affordable housing plan in the ACT has been operating since 2007. A good number of outcomes have been achieved around housing affordability. For example, 3,600 dwellings were purchased at affordable prices, 2,025 homes were made available under the land rent scheme, and a further 2,000 dwellings were built under the national rental affordability scheme.

It is timely that a new housing strategy is being developed to pursue new initiatives which will address the whole spectrum of housing, including reducing homelessness, and increasing social housing assistance and affordable rentals as well as home purchases. There have already been a number of consultations last year leading up to the summit in October. I tabled a summary paper last month. Members will know that there are some early initiatives already underway.

Affordable public and community housing targets will apply to new government land releases. They will not be limited to greenfields but be spread across the city. An affordable home purchase database will ensure that affordable home purchase options are targeted to families who need it. Expressions of interest are now open for the $1 million innovation fund for projects including affordable rental real estate management, home sharing opportunities and design-led co-housing developments. I look forward to releasing the new housing strategy later this year.

MS ORR: How does the ACT compare to other states and territories in terms of housing affordability?

MS BERRY: The government has released more than 37,000 sites for residential development since 2006 with a further 16,250 to be released over the next four years with housing targets for affordable housing. Under the Treasurer and Chief Minister’s leadership the ACT has been implementing a nation-leading reform by eliminating stamp duty. Our current housing indicators show that the ACT is experiencing less rental and mortgage stress than the national average. But Canberra’s higher than average income has often hit the disadvantaged around the ACT so it is important that we maintain a strong social housing program.

The ACT has the highest proportion of social housing in Australia. As of 30 June 2017 there were 28 social housing homes for every 1,000 people, which is almost double the national average of 16. Unlike some other jurisdictions, this government is investing in public housing with 1,288 public housing properties being renewed over four years. That is around 11 per cent of our public housing portfolio that will be replaced with new and modern homes that will best meet the needs of our tenants.

Ensuring a strong community and public housing program and supporting housing affordability by ensuring that homes and support are provided is important to our most vulnerable Canberrans and to ensuring that they are out of the private rental market.

MS CODY: Minister, what actions taken by the federal government impact housing affordability in the ACT?

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