“The real problem is that the Minister is scratching her head about the size of the housing problem and what to do in response. The Public Housing Asset Management Strategy expired in 2008 and the Government has failed to outline any plan to keep up with the growing demand and maintain investment.
“Data released last week by the AIHW showed that demand for public housing will increase 30% by 2021, largely because governments aren’t keeping pace with current demand. If the ACT Government doesn’t try and meet demand then more people will become homeless.
“In 2009-10 total recurrent expenditure on homelessness services nationally was $461 million and in the ACT was $15.6 million. I am being attacked for a proposal that would see the annual cost of running public housing go up by $17 million.
“We should be endeavouring to prevent people from going through the enormous stress of being homeless by providing them with safe and stable home. The ACT Government would be spending about $2200 a year to keep a family in housing. Compare that to the economic and social cost of homelessness.
“The Federal Labor Government recognised the benefit of investing in public housing, and the Stimulus Package has had a positive impact. The ACT Government should look to build on this rather than put homelessness in the ‘too hard’ basket.
“The Minister has asked me how I would propose to pay for an increase in public housing stock. I ask her in response what is the size of the profits she expects to make from the redevelopment of the ABC and Northbourne public housing sites, and what does she plan to do with that money. All the profits should go back into public housing.