Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3366 ..
The ACT also continues to lead the nation in allocating social housing to those most in need. Of the 523 new allocations made to public housing during 2017-18, 99 per cent were households in greatest need. Sixty-six per cent of new public housing households were for persons with specific needs, including people with a disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders or tenants who are under 25 or over 75. In 2017-18 Housing ACT funded a $50 million capital program to provide housing that meets tenants’ needs and $40 million on maintenance across the portfolio.
Housing ACT has worked to further refine maintenance programs to better achieve value for money. The outcome of this work has been a positive shift in the volume of plant versus responsive work, where Housing ACT has been able to redirect an additional $1.3 million to planned works. As a result, in 2017-18 public housing tenants have benefited from 1,888 upgrades to properties, including 196 kitchens, 212 wet areas, as well as 584 floor coverings and 896 internal or external paint jobs.
I am very pleased to hear that there is apparently now support, or at least those people who have already spoken on this matter today say they care, but when the government was facing some hostility from some people in the community it was the government that was staring that hostility down and it was those opposite, and others who have spoken today, who were stoking the politics of fear out there in the suburbs where new public housing is built for people who need it most.
As well as building public housing, we are improving the energy efficiency of public housing properties, which has been an ongoing project. In the 2007-08 budget the government provided $20 million over 10 years as part of the energy efficiency program. At the end of 2016, 8,956 properties had received energy efficient improvements. This included ceiling and wall insulation, draught sealing and installation of gas and electric-boosted solar hot water systems.
In early 2017 Housing ACT, in collaboration with the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, entered into partnership with ActewAGL to deliver energy efficient products into public housing. As a result of this collaboration, the government launched a trial program in December 2017 to improve energy efficiency and lower utility bills in ACT public housing homes, under the energy efficiency improvement scheme. This program helped public housing tenants by replacing more than 200 old, inefficient heaters with better systems, including electric reverse-cycle units that will reduce energy bills and improve the comfort of all homes all year round. Two hundred and forty properties have now had new appliances installed, as at 30 June 2018.
Building on the success of this program, the government has allocated a further $5.713 million to be spent over three years on the next stage of the program to improve energy efficiency to more than 2,000 public housing properties. The expanded program will target inefficient gas heating as well as electric space heaters. Public housing tenants will also be able to access education programs and energy audits through the energy efficiency improvement scheme and the Actsmart low income program.