ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury last week announced a Cabinet decision to strengthen and expand the Territory's public and social housing sector.
According to the media statement, Cabinet has agreed to a whole-of-government approach to the housing sector and supported a range of measures, including increasing community housing stock, accelerating the renewal of ageing government housing and maintaining and extending the Territory's 'salt and pepper' approach into new suburbs.
Mr Rattenbury said Cabinet's decision "recognises that as Canberra grows, so does our need for affordable and low cost housing. All the relevant Government directorates and Ministers have engaged in this conversation about the role of public and social housing in our second century."
According to the government, Cabinet has supported:
- Accelerating the renewal and redevelopment of ageing public housing stock;
- Responding to the needs and preferences of tenants along the proposed Northbourne Avenue redevelopment sites, by providing accommodation within the 800 metre corridor (including Flemington Road), in the inner north and the city, where possible;
- Growing social housing through new partnerships, innovation, intelligent design, public/private partnerships and specific project budget bids that align with government priorities; and
- Maintaining the 'salt and pepper' approach to public housing in existing suburbs, and expanding this approach to public housing in new and developing areas.
"It is no secret that much of our government housing stock is ageing and needs to be upgraded to better meet the needs of our tenants. We must respond to public housing waiting times and expanding our efforts to build new and more energy efficient housing in smaller complexes," Mr Rattenbury said.
The Minister said he was particularly pleased with the commitment to seek opportunities for modest growth in the Territory's social housing stock – through the new ACT Government community housing strategy or through innovative partnerships with the private and not for profit sector.
Mr Barr said the commitment to an accelerated renewal schedule for redeveloping old and out of date properties will bring many positive benefits to Canberra.
"This will lead to increased development and construction activity across the territory which will help provide the most appropriate types of housing for those in need and stimulate the economy," Mr Barr said.
"Combined with the success of the Affordable Housing Action Plan, this new approach will allow the Government to better support members of our community who may not be eligible for public housing, but who may be struggling to find suitable and sustainable private accommodation."