Probing the polls: dog rego division and long-term public housing stays

Genevieve Jacobs 20 April 2021 4
Public housing stock

New public housing stock in the ACT. Photo: ACT Public Housing Renewal Taskforce.

The ACT Government now requires all dog owners in the ACT to register their pets annually, although at no extra cost. The law is intended to reduce dog attacks, re-home lost dogs, enforce laws and keep track of how many dogs there are in the ACT.

The government believes the current lifetime registration scheme does not accurately count the number of dogs in the ACT and does not provide up-to-date details of dog owners for law enforcement and rehoming purposes.

It appears readers are evenly divided on the proposal. We asked Should we register dogs annually? A total of 1,146 readers responded.

Your choices were to vote No, it’s unnecessary overkill that doesn’t meet any real need. This received 52 per cent of the total, or 601 votes. Alternatively, you could vote Yes, it’s a sensible idea that ensures animal welfare. This received 48 per cent of the total, or 545 votes.

This week, we’re wondering what you think about ACT Housing’s tenant policies.

Former Barnardo’s mother of the year and mum of seven, Belinda Nunn, has five daughters between six and 18, but has also helped raise her two nephews to her twin sister who died when the boys were young. She will be homeless within weeks after being told by Housing ACT there were simply no homes available.


READ ALSO: ACT housing crisis puts family of eight at risk of homelessness


“We need at least a four-bedroom home and I was told I was being put on a priority list, but I also heard there were 19 others on that list too,” Ms Nunn said.

With a vacancy rate of just 0.7 per cent and only about 500 properties available to rent in the ACT, the competition for an apartment is intense enough, let alone a house, especially one with four bedrooms or more. Ms Nunn is on a priority list of 19.

The ACT Government says the need for large houses represents a relatively minor part of the public housing market, and it intends to meet that need within the 10-year Housing Strategy released in 2018.

But Ms Nunn says that some of ACT Housing’s larger houses are already occupied by single tenants or couples whose children have grown up and moved on.

Candace Driscoll wrote: “I don’t understand how people can live in ACT housing for 20+ years. It should be temp until you can afford private housing. The whole system needs an update.”

Ol L said it was “unbelievable that a single person can stay in a family home indefinitely. Shame on you, ACT Housing”.

But Claire Eljay noted, “there’s a huge gap between rent-controlled social housing and paying for private rental though. So unless the household doubles their income or more, moving from social housing to private is a pretty huge financial change they wouldn’t be able to afford, like 25% income on rent going up to 50-60% or more. It’s no wonder some households are there a long time when there’s nothing low cost in the private market”.

Our question this week is:

Should ACT housing tenants stay in properties long term?

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4 Responses to Probing the polls: dog rego division and long-term public housing stays
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Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 4:25 pm 23 Apr 21

There are two key conclusions that can be drawn from this article. The first is that people on welfare require a housing solution that will only deepen their welfare dependence because it places minimal demands on them in terms of property maintenance inputs and striving to be better. The second is that current and aspiring renters are paying the price for the ACT Government’s zeal in enacting poorly thought-through new tenancy laws. These laws are so anti-landlord that, ultimately, they will lead to an abandonment of the ACT property market by potential private landlords. Just on the basic law of supply and demand, this will aggravate an already over-stretched private rental market, aggravated by an excessive cost base imposed on all property owners by this government. This can only lead to spiralling rents for all-too-often substandard dwellings. Of course, this is what happens under tired, old, hubristic governments that are driven by ideology rather than practicality. It’s why Canberrans need to get over themselves and embrace change rather than stasis.

Ray Polglaze Ray Polglaze 1:09 pm 23 Apr 21

This question assumes that a large proportion of public housing tenants have short term low incomes like people who are unemployed for short periods. The reality is that most tenants of public housing are likely to have low incomes for the long term because they are on aged or disability pensions. Given the waiting list times, very few people who are unemployed for short periods will get in to public housing. Many of those of those who are working are likely to be on low incomes and are unlikely to get up to the incomes needed to rent in the private market or buy a house before they reach pension age.
Public housing tenants who are paying market rents make an important contribution to the financial and political viability of public housing systems. The Australian and international experience is that when public housing systems have almost all their tenants on low incomes like Centrelink payments, the rental incomes are not sufficient for them to be financially viable. The maintenance spending then gets cut while public housing gets stigmatised and loses political support. The international experience is that public housing systems that have long term viability, like in New York, hold on to their working tenants to maintain their financial and political viability.

Ray Polglaze Ray Polglaze 1:03 pm 23 Apr 21

This question assumes that a large proportion have short term low incomes like people who are unemployed for short periods. The reality is that most tenants of public housing are likely to have low incomes for the long term because they are on aged or disability pensions. Given the waiting list times, very few people who are unemployed for short periods will get in to public housing. Many of those of those who are working are likely to be on low incomes and are unlikely to get up to the incomes where they can rent in the private market or buy a house before they reach pension age.

Public housing tenants who are paying market rents make an important contribution to the financial viability and political of public housing systems. The Australian and international experience is that when public housing systems move to having almost all their tenants on low incomes like Centrelink payments, the rental incomes are not not sufficient for them to be financially viable. The maintenance spending then gets cut while public housing gets stigmatised and loses political support. The international experience is that public housing systems that have long term viability, like in New York, hold on to their working tenants to maintain their financial and political viability.

Esmeralda Esmeralda 11:12 am 23 Apr 21

You’re asking the wrong questions. The idea that you have to take from the poor to give to the poor is outdated and just wrong. Build more houses so that no one is homeless or has to give up their home to help someone else in need. And don’t even bother telling me that there’s no money for that, there should be. Tax the wealthy, tax the churches and distribute money in a fair and equitable manner…sigh…I know it’s just a pipedream…

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