Page 486 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 19 February 2020

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leased out to people willing to pay more than the list price. Distraught, this former Canberra Hospital worker now fears the extreme social isolation that will result if she is forced to leave Canberra, which has been her only community since 1953. Minister, what do you expect older Canberrans to do if they do not qualify for social housing or the affordable rental scheme but lack the income necessary to afford Canberra's record rents?

MS BERRY: I am not aware of the circumstances behind the individual Mrs Kikkert has described. However, I would encourage Mrs Kikkert to put that person in touch with OneLink at Belconnen, who may be able to connect that individual with different kinds of accommodation and could support that individual into housing or rental affordability.

Of course, that is not the circumstance that we would want anyone in our community to be in. The ACT government’s housing strategy has a number of objectives and actions to ensure that people who are in situations like the one that Mrs Kikkert has described can have opportunities to get into homes of their own, whether that is through a private rental or that is through public housing if they are eligible. If they are not eligible, community housing could be an option.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, how many older female Canberrans are currently facing homelessness, and what are the future projections?

MS BERRY: I do not know that there is data on the number that Mrs Kikkert is after. I certainly do not have it on me today but I can get that information if it is available and provide it to the Assembly. Of course the projections coming from the sector are suggesting that more older women will be left out of housing because of a lack of superannuation, which means that when they retire they will not have the income to be able to survive. All these issues are, of course, concerns to the ACT government and some of the actions and objectives that have been identified in the housing strategy go towards supporting women in these kinds of situations.

MR PARTON: Minister, why has the ACT government allowed cost of living increases to create a situation where some who have worked their entire lives cannot afford to remain in Canberra in their retirement?

MS BERRY: I do not agree with the presumption made in that question.

Mr Parton: So there are no people in that—

MS BERRY: That is my answer.

Government—mingle program expenditure

MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. Minister, why did the launch party for a book box or street library in Moncrieff cost mingle over $7,000, in effect, the value of three local households’ rates for the year?

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