21 new public housing properties to help address shortage

Ian Bushnell 5 April 2021 30
Public housing properties

An artist’s impression of the public housing properties to be built in Dickson. Image: ACT Government.

Construction has begun on an additional 21 public housing properties in Dickson as a part of the ACT Government’s renewal program.

The mix of two and three-storey buildings will contain two, three and four-bedroom apartments, as well as two-bedroom town houses.

The minimum 6-star energy efficiency and Gold Class or Class C Adaptable homes will replace six properties on Morphett Street.

Speaking at a sod-turning event on the site, Housing Minister Yvette Berry said the Dickson development continued the program’s focus on improving public housing through the renewal of older, less efficient homes and increasing the number of properties that are designed and built to provide more choice and meet the different needs of tenants.

She said it had been designed to consider the best use of the area and block size to create a sense of space and privacy between homes and neighbours.

“The Growing and Renewing Public Housing program is increasing the portfolio’s flexibility to support the provision of safe, secure and sustainable homes that are close to services and transport for more people in need, regardless of their abilities or circumstances,” she said.

Ms Berry said there would be a range of people with different needs living in the complex which should be completed by the middle of next year.

She said all dwellings would have wider accessible doorways, the Class C homes would allow people to age in place and others would be fully accessible to accommodate wheelchairs.


READ ALSO: Budget to give extra boost to public housing as report shows decline


There is a long wait for public housing in the ACT with more than 2700 on the waiting list – more than 1600 with high needs, nearly a 1000 needing standard homes and almost 200 assessed as priority.

Yvette Berry, Catherine Loft and  Mohammed Wazir

Yvette Berry turns the first sod on the Morphett Street public housing project in Dickson. Looking on is Executive Branch Manager, Housing ACT Catherine Loft, and Managing Director ABA Construction, Mohammed Wazir. Photo: Supplied.

The average waiting times, according to the Community Services Directorate website, are 1340 days for standard housing, 867 for high needs and 267 for priority.

The government continues to come under fire for not doing enough to make a dent in these demoralising figures but Ms Berry insists the ACT continues to punch above its weight, although she says the government can always do more.

Ms Berry said that by the end of the program 20 per cent of the ACT’s stock will have been renewed.

“We have some of the oldest public housing stock in country so we want to make sure that these homes in the ACT meet the needs of people now but also as they age in the future, ensuring they’re available for those who might have difficulties and needs for more accessible housing as well,” she said.

Ms Berry said the ACT spent more per capita on public housing than any other state or territory and had always called for the federal government to do more.

“If there was skin in the game from federal government in providing additional financial support, I could see that across the country we would have more affordable housing for people who need it most,” she said.

Ms Berry said the current program was also focused on building quality homes that were more sustainable and easier to maintain, something that would reduce the government’s upkeep bills.

The government says the Growing and Renewing Public Housing program will deliver 1000 homes that are more modern, high quality and efficient to help improve the quality of life for tenants.

But welfare groups such as the ACT Council of Social Services say that there is a shortfall of 3000 affordable dwellings in the ACT and skyrocketing rents and low vacancy rates are making the situation worse.


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30 Responses to 21 new public housing properties to help address shortage
Ol L Ol L 3:11 pm 07 Apr 21

Canberra has more public housing per capita than any other state or territory in Australia. But we need more?

HSewell HSewell 1:37 pm 07 Apr 21

A lot of focus on the number 21 in these comments. Less focus on the number 1000:
“The government says the Growing and Renewing Public Housing program will deliver 1000 homes that are more modern, high quality and efficient to help improve the quality of life for tenants.”

    JC JC 6:53 pm 07 Apr 21

    People are too lazy to actual read the article and comment on the headline. You see it all the time.

Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 1:40 pm 06 Apr 21

I guess that means at least 21 families from the thousands of inner city public housing dwellings they sold off to developers can move back into the city. The rest of them can rot out in the distant suburbs with little public amenities and services. Shame Labor/Greens Shame.

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 3:59 pm 06 Apr 21

    Jeff Smith from what I read at the time, some of them wanted to move because of the state of the properties they were in...I dont think all want to return...just saying

    Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 1:07 pm 07 Apr 21

    Linda Stapleton You don't think they'd be at least 21 people from all those flats in Civic who'd want to return to the city? I presume many of the former tenants would have happily stayed in Bega, Northbourne or Currong flats if the government had maintained the properties to a reasonable standard.

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 1:08 pm 07 Apr 21

    Jeff Smith well my mates from there say differently... guess we just know different ones... have a nice day

Jody Maree Harrison Jody Maree Harrison 9:40 pm 05 Apr 21

Most cities have housing shortages nothing new

Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 8:05 pm 05 Apr 21

Would you rather none?? Keep going ACT govt. every new place is a plus! Lots more one beddies ASAP!

    William Coats William Coats 11:55 pm 05 Apr 21

    We have less government housing stock today than 4 years ago. Great work team green and red

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 8:05 pm 05 Apr 21

Now a cynic would say something about all the public housing demolished along Northbourne Avenue and it being replaced by private property. A reasonable person would realise that that corridor now being valuable due to the light rail was purely coincidental. I’m sure no one profited from that transfer of public land to private land.

Vander Leal Vander Leal 7:48 pm 05 Apr 21

21? Why so many? Now you can forget about building new ones for a whole decade... Thanks ACT Gov!

Yvonne Van Der Meer Yvonne Van Der Meer 7:29 pm 05 Apr 21

Our childhood and family home for 60 years was on that spot

William Coats William Coats 7:12 pm 05 Apr 21

Unfortunately this 21 won’t cover the shortfall of all those lost in the last few years. It’s hard to believe that total gov housing numbers are going down. No wonder there’s an over 3 year waiting list. After 20 years this labor greens gov have lost touch with struggling Canberrans

    Felicity Jane Felicity Jane 8:42 pm 05 Apr 21

    William 3 years emergency housing, 8 for non-emergency housing. It's a disgrace!

    William Coats William Coats 9:28 pm 05 Apr 21

    All this in a rich city state that has had a labor greens gov for 20 years

Vladimir Svoboda Vladimir Svoboda 6:33 pm 05 Apr 21

Knock down hundreds in Dickson, Lyneham, Ainslie, Manuka, Narrabundah etc. Build 20 in Dickson and some on the city fringes. Wow. Great job.

The cynical and obvious reason for this is an attempt by the government to essentially force desperate people over the border in to NSW. Constrict supply for apartments now, then build new stuff in the future and oh look the wait list is down (because we ran people out of town).

Brianna Brianna 6:31 pm 05 Apr 21

I don’t understand having 4 bedroom apartments. Surely these would be needed for families? Where would the kids go to play? Would there be noise complaints?

Charlie Karmenu Flask Charlie Karmenu Flask 6:22 pm 05 Apr 21

Why not fix/renovate the current houses??

    Charlie Karmenu Flask Charlie Karmenu Flask 7:30 pm 05 Apr 21

    Rhonda Maxwell Yeh! I suppose you're right...we had heaps of $$$$$ but was spent some where else...I wonder where???

    William Coats William Coats 11:52 pm 05 Apr 21

    Because that wouldn’t allow for this great photo op. The lNor greens government is all announcement no action.

    Trish Casey Trish Casey 6:13 am 06 Apr 21

    Charlie Karmenu Flask yes like elderly living in falling down damaged units in ACT Government housing. 3 breakins one elderly tenet been punched in the face all because its easy to break in through broken doors

Kate Cuthbert Kate Cuthbert 6:17 pm 05 Apr 21

It's a start but a long way to go sadly

    William Coats William Coats 11:50 pm 05 Apr 21

    I guess that’s why we have less government houses now than 4 years ago. I guess that’s why waiting times are over 3 years. This labor greens gov have been in charge for 20 years, this is their legacy

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 4:02 pm 06 Apr 21

    William Coats It really wasnt a bed of roses under the other party either mate... I love how Liberal supporters make believe that under the Liberals, life in the ACT was all raibows and fairies and magical unicorns... it was just as difficult, actually in many respects it was a freaking lot more difficult... they, both parties, have their failings ... grow up...

    William Coats William Coats 7:14 pm 06 Apr 21

    Linda liberals haven’t been in power for 20 years. 20 years. I vast number of people now in Canberra have not lived here under a liberal gov

Prue McKay Prue McKay 6:10 pm 05 Apr 21

How many public housing properties did they demolish to make way for apartment blocks? 21 flats isn't going to be quite enough.

Kim KD Winks Kim KD Winks 6:04 pm 05 Apr 21

If they fixed up the old ones and not leave them vacant, then that would help

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 4:44 pm 05 Apr 21

Demolish hundreds, build 21?

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