Minister announces ACT Tennant and Garden of the year but avoids awarding Freeloader of the year award

By 7 December 2005 64

Minister Hargreaves has announced the winners of the ACT (public housing) Tennant of the year and garden of the year awards. The media release can be read here .

Congratulations to these two people who seem more than worthy for the accolades they have been given – I’m sure they will be given a nice plaque for the wall or trophy to sit on the mantelpiece for their efforts.

There was great anticipation and expectation that the inaugural ACT Tennant Freeloader of the Year may have been awarded to fellow MLA Deb Foskey. Unfortunately it appears that Ms. Foskey missed out this year and can continue to sleep soundly in the knowledge that she continues to block (by insisting that she will remain living in a ACT Housing property instead of renting on the open market) those genuinely needier and on a fraction of her income, access to Government accommodation.

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64 Responses to
Minister announces ACT Tennant and Garden of the year but avoids awarding Freeloader of the year award
areaman 1:39 pm
07 Dec 05

Except that it’s not how the ACT public housing system works. It’s pretty simple, but I’ll explain it again for the slower amongst us. People who pay market rent for pubic housing make a profit for ACT housing, that profit is put back into expanding the stock of public housing, ergo not having people paying market rent in the system would mean there would be less houses in total. So in other words no one paying market rent is “blocking” anyone else, and anyone who still thinks so is either horribly misinformed or a complete moron.

I agree, living in public housing as an MLA looks bad and is politically stupid, but it doesn’t actually disadvantage anyone else.

Mr_Shab 1:49 pm
07 Dec 05

If Foskey was paying ACTUAL market rent (somewhere around the $450-$500/week mark in that suburb, rather than the pittance she actually coughs up), perhaps fewer people would find her situation so galling.

I’m not going to argue the point any further, because I’m sure there’ll be a queue of RA contributors lining up to take a swing at you, areaman.

Maelinar 1:54 pm
07 Dec 05

Areaman, again I’ll inform you;

Housing stocks are the terminology applied to housing companies, such as the Defence Housing Authority, ad nauseum. They are the people who are in the business of making money out of housing.

The ACT Government isn’t in the business of making money out of housing, and therefore the structure behind your entire argument is flawed.

The public housing department gets allocated money by the ACT Government. They don’t obtain profit from housing stocks that are collecting ‘market rent’.

They also probably have a maximum cap of housing imposed upon them by the government, further enhancing the requirement to piss off dead weight and house those who are in the most need.

As far as I have seen, Deb Foskey isn’t in need of anything other than a diet and some time with the two chicks from what not to wear.

Thumper 2:09 pm
07 Dec 05

I’m not even going to comment on the Foskey issue, except that i just did….

Congratulations to the winning tennants, it makes up for the others that have three and a half falcons in various states of disrepair on their front lawns, grass six foot high, no fly screens, and sometimes no doors, and a dozen mongrels in the backyard.

okay, bad stereotype. I retract it.

bulldog 2:23 pm
07 Dec 05

Thanks Mael, you saved me the time from pointing much the same thing. Any alleged ‘market rent’ collected by ACT Housing goes into consolidated revenue.

Is anyone able to find out an ball-park of what Ms Foskey is paying? I’ve said it before, but I am truly curious to see just what is deemed to be “market rent”.

areaman 2:37 pm
07 Dec 05

I really should just ignore you Maelinar, because you never seem to do any research at all, which is just slack and shows how little you think about what you’re posting. Profits from market rents don’t go back in consolidated revenue and are instead used by ACT Housing to subsidise other people in public housing. Proving that at least one of us bother to do some research, from the
Final Report on Affordable Housing in the ACT: Strategies for Action

areaman said :

The Taskforce recognises that under existing arrangements market renters cross-subsidise rebated tenants as ACT Housing does not receive a funding allocation to cover rent rebates that total almost $40 million per annum. Market renters accounted for 36 per cent of total rent collected or approximately $19 million in 2001-02. Replacing market renters with tenants on rebated rents,
would create a minimum revenue shortfall of approximately $12 million per annum for ACT Housing.

In addition, there is no cap on how many houses they can own, and if you’re going to make stupid shit up, you could at least make it believable. There are plans for how much new stock they will buy, but this is limited by funding, not by legislation.

areaman 2:41 pm
07 Dec 05

bulldog, as I just said market rents don’t go into consolidated revenue and I doubt anyone paying market rent has issue with paying what ever it is deemed to be, but that is an issue with the independent assessors they use not for the tenants.

Kandy A 2:44 pm
07 Dec 05

I will gladly swap my current ACT Housing neighbours for Ms Foskey. I would also be pleased to swap existing horrors for up to three and a half falcons disrepaired, grass of any length, no doors, and anything less than a dozen mongrels in the backyard. Can ACT Housing arrange such swaps?
Im living next to Bad Boy Bubby’s mum

Indi 2:58 pm
07 Dec 05

I discovered a document entitled the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement – a major tenet of the agreement stipulates the following:

In entering into this Agreement the Commonwealth and the States recognise that the provision of housing assistance to people requiring access to affordable and Appropriate Housing is essential to reduce poverty and its effects on individuals and on the community as a whole. The aim of this Agreement is therefore to provide appropriate, affordable and secure housing assistance for those who most need it, for the duration of their need.

I was encouraged by the statement as it implies that a person in need can access housing assistance when they need it, for the duration of need. This could be construed as the central point of the argument to be had in this thread – the State will gladly support you and offer housing (subsidised for all tenants, regardless of status) and when you no longer require it due to a change in your personal/financial position, you move on and allow another needy person the chance to make a better life for themselves.

I’m of the opinion that Social Housing is an essential service and any government should be working towards fulling funding it as part of the social welfare ‘net’ and not attempt to operate it as a ‘profit making excercise’ via collecting full rents to cover the rest.

When the number of full market renters has dwindled to around 13% now and will obviously continue to decline, how prepared will government be to fund the ‘loss’?

areaman 3:05 pm
07 Dec 05

I still don’t see the need to force people to move out of their home just because their financial situation has changed, as long as they aren’t costing someone else a spot (which people paying market rent aren’t). Sure we should encourage it (for their own benefit as much as anythign else), but I’ve yet to hear an argument for why we should force them out.

jr 3:11 pm
07 Dec 05

Areaman – I have no problem with ACT Housing running at a (greater) loss so long as they can ensure more (or preferably ALL) people who are in genuine need of Government accommodation are properly catered for.

Whilst we have the likes of Foskey occupying an ACT housing premise there will always be someone else that misses out.

Remember that she is earning close to $100K (if not more) for a guaranteed minimum of four years (what does the affordable housing report say about where the poverty line is?). Come the end of the current govenment term should her circumstances change such that she once again could be eligible for Government accommodation then she should be required to join the end of the queue like everyone else.

Unfortunately the current ACT Housing policies allows the like of Ms. Foskey to keep her snout in the trough and continue feeding regardless of circumstances.

bulldog 3:12 pm
07 Dec 05

areaman – hold the phone, I am going through the linked document and found that;

a) it was published nearly four years ago – some of the data used is from as early as ’96!
b) it sems more than a little contradictory in it’s reccomendations and it’s ‘current’ (and I use that term loosely) modus operandi.
c) it’s exceedingly dull. More dull, in fact, than a night at the cross with Fred Nile.

Now, as I am no techno-nerd, if I ever work out how to cut and paste from pdf’s I will be happy to point out some of this seemingly flawed logic.

I will however concede that I was unaware that rent collected did not go to consolidated revenue.

However – “ACT Housing does not receive a funding allocation to cover rent rebates that total almost $40 million per annum.” This mentions nothing about ‘market rent’ collected being used for the purchase of new housing stock, merely that it can assist in offsetting the subsidies handed out to people requiring rental assistance.

Time for a retraction of your own before we move on to round two. Here’s what I’m talking about;
“but I’ll explain it again for the slower amongst us. People who pay market rent for pubic (sic) housing make a profit for ACT housing, that profit is put back into expanding the stock of public housing, ergo not having people paying market rent in the system would mean there would be less houses in total.”

Jazz 3:29 pm
07 Dec 05

Nicely done Areaman. Despite that document being 4 years out of date that is still how it is done.

Mael – even in public housing the properties are refered to as housing stock.

In all state and territory housing bodies there is an element of full rent paying tenants (% veries between states) and invariably, that revenue is used to offset some of the cost to state governments of running a subsidised housing program. The Commonwealth State Territory housing agreement sets out guidelines and obligations to each state govt that it must meet in order to get a slice of the commonwealth pie allocated each year to fund housing programs.

areaman 3:31 pm
07 Dec 05

bulldog, well yes an no. Technically they don’t buy any more housing, but that’s because, in my understanding, the percentage of people paying full market rent is pretty stable and so they subsidise the other existing tenants. Now if the amount paying market rents grew ACT housing could buy more houses, and if it shrank they would have to sell some. So the correct way to put it would be that that profit is put back into subsidised public housing tenants, who already cost more than government is able to fund. That doesn’t however invalidate my final conclusion that not having people paying market rent in the system would mean there would be less houses in total.

Jr, ACT housing can’t just run at a loss for ever, so if you want it to continue to have the same amount of housing stocks as it currently does it either needs to get significantly more money from the government (from higher taxes or other service cuts) or make profits from other parts of it’s business, which is what it does now. Not I’m all in four of higher taxes for better services, but I’m not sure if the rest of the populace is with me.

But that leads on the bigger issue of if she’s costing someone else a spot, in the current system she isn’t. If she wasn’t there there would be less houses in total. The fact of the matter is that there is no snout in the trough as she’s not getting any extra money from the government, instead she’s actually giving to needy people in the form of housing subsidies rather than just to wealthy landlords (not that I’m claiming we should all be living in public housing, but I don’t see the need to kick some one out of their existing home after their finances change when they aren’t costing anyone a spot and are actually making the public work better rather than worse).

Jazz 3:32 pm
07 Dec 05


everything areaman has said in this thread to date has been spot on

areaman 3:39 pm
07 Dec 05

For updated numbers on housing in the ACT(but it’s a report back rather than an assembly report) go here:

Progress on Affordable Housing in the ACT

Jazz 3:41 pm
07 Dec 05

Mr Shab
If Foskey was paying ACTUAL market rent (somewhere around the $450-$500/week mark in that suburb, rather than the pittance she actually coughs up), perhaps fewer people would find her situation so galling.

care to enlighten us on what she is ACTUALLY paying before making such a stupid statement.

my definition of market rent would be whatever a landlord is charging and a tenant is prepared to pay.

bulldog 3:51 pm
07 Dec 05

Jazz, I respectfully submit that you unpucker your lips and pull away from areamans arse. I am reading the same document as areaman and I have already conceded that I was wrong about the consolidated revenue bit (quite gracefully I might add, it’s not often a retraction is made at RA), however more to the point the document is contradictory. If you have bothered reading this you would see that.

Areaman is merely pointing out the ‘good bits’ (ie any bits that prove his point).

And Jazz, tell me how you know that this document is still current? Do you work in housing? If so you can let us know what Ms Foskey is paying for ‘market rent’. The perhaps you can table a report to your manager explaining how if ‘market rent’ was indeed an actual reflection of the current rental market, that we would be able to generate revenue for a much larger increase in housing stock.

Now before I make a complete ass out of myself, let me finish this document and work out the whole cut n’ paste issue.

Cameron 3:53 pm
07 Dec 05

From my googling I believe she’s paying $270 a week, which is far from market rent for Yarralumla.

areaman 4:01 pm
07 Dec 05

From what I saw on Today Tonight, it looked like a pretty crappy little fibro place.

Thumper 4:05 pm
07 Dec 05

A friend of mine earns $34K a year and pays $280 a week for a private two beddie in Charnwood.

She is not eligible for a govvie house.

Maybe that puts everything into perspective.

Indi 4:13 pm
07 Dec 05

An interesting perspective into Housing’s ability to funding the business back in 2003 for the fanatics:

Operating revenue is derived primarily from two sources – rents received (estimated at approximately $58m in 2003/04) and CSHA funding ($27m). An operating loss of $4m is projected in 2003/04, and losses are expected to continue in subsequent years.

“Approximately 83% of tenants receive a rental rebate which represents, in effect, an unfunded community service obligation of $53m. Therefore, without rebates the revenue would be $111m.

Continued targeting of housing assistance to those most in need will see further increases in rebates and further erosion of the revenue base, making it difficult to fund its running costs and to adequately maintain its properties. Anticipated reductions in CSHA funding will also exacerbate the agency’s financial viability and its ability to sustain itself”.

Looks like a National Housing Policy and a firm set of directives from the Federal Govt level would see some form of consistency in this vital policy area across all jurisdictions.

jr 4:16 pm
07 Dec 05

Areaman – by reason of your logic that the Government should not be running anything at a loss then:

* why is ACTION (buses) still run by the government at a loss?

* why does the government continue to pander to the cycling lobby with bus bike racks and onroad bike lanes with no cost recovery?

* why does the government continue to run public libraries?

* why does the government continue to run public schools?

… and the list could continue virtually ad infinitum.

The answer is simply that the Government is there to provide services that are not otherwise viable for private enterprise. The Government is there to provide the safety net – tell me where someone earning close to $100K pa is in dire need of a safety net for accomodation…

Finally if anyones wants to know what market rates for rent are see the website.

areaman 4:30 pm
07 Dec 05

Jr, I’m not saying that the government shouldn’t run services at a loss, just that ACT housing can’t provide housing at an even greater loss with out getting more funding from consolidated revenue, and to pay for that you ether have to raise taxes or cut other services.

Yes public housing is initially for people in need, but if they are making money for the system and not costing anyone else a spot why kick them out if they start earning more, all you’re going then is creating a disincentive to succeed.

I don’t agree with this general mentality that all profits should be individual and all losses should be socialised. To use you example of action buses and your line that the Government is there to provide services that are not otherwise viable for private enterprise, does that mean we should have private buses running the intertown routes, as they actually make money and then have Action being an even bigger black hole only running loss making services?

jr 4:34 pm
07 Dec 05

Areaman – first you still need to answer my questions and on how someone on $100K pa needs a government (subsidised) house.

areaman 4:43 pm
07 Dec 05

they dont, but the government isn’t subsidising anyone paying market rent. They are subsidising the government.

barking toad 5:01 pm
07 Dec 05


If fatarse is parked in public housing then she’s occupying a house that some other poor bastard could get into and get off the waiting list. Her paying an alleged “market” rent won’t change the fact that’s she’s taking up someone else’s space.

There may be some argument that those poor people who better themselves can stay in public housing if there rent is upped to something like market value – but within reason.

Fatarse politicians who already own real estate interstate should NEVER qualify for public housing and every time I hear of this snout troughing cunt I want to puke!

areaman 5:18 pm
07 Dec 05

barking toad- no you fucking moron, the fact is that if it weren’t for people paying market rent then there wouldn’t be as many public houses and so the people on the waiting lists would still have no where to live (and possibly more of them than do now). Sounds to me that you just don’t like one person involved and you wouldn’t like them no matter what they did, rather than actually have an issues with security of tenure.

barking toad 5:32 pm
07 Dec 05

Sorry if I upset you areaman.

Perhaps I am a little dim. But how many houses does fatarse provide by her “market” rent and how many needy families has she got off the waiting list?

Mr_Shab 5:58 pm
07 Dec 05

Okay Jazz – I’m pretty sure the actual figure was $280 per week. Not 100% certain where I heard that – it may even have been that fine bastion of investigative journalism Today Tonight.

If she is paying $280 per week, I’m sure we can agree that it’s well below the odds. If I’m wrong, and someone has a higher figure from a more reliable source, I’m happy to eat my words.

I’ve got nothing against tennants paying market rent for public housing (areaman makes a reasonably good case). I just think they ought to pay ACTUAL market rent rather than a figure based on old data, or an average figure covering the whole Canberra market.

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