In a blow to housing affordability the Chief Minister has announced that four of the most affordable accomodations in Canberra, home to 80 odd people, have been taken down.
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said he had been briefed today on the emergency closure of the houses and the Government had established a quick-response team to ensure that residents were helped to locate alternative accommodation.
“I am advised that the state of the four houses was absolutely disgraceful, with unsafe, overloaded electrical wiring, unapproved works, serious overcrowding and extremely unsanitary conditions,” Mr Stanhope said. “This is not how we live in Australia, not how we live in Canberra, and I think most Canberrans would agree that we do not want to see this sort of activity occurring in the nation’s capital.”
Government agencies including ACT Health, ACTPLA and ACT Policing inspected the four houses in Macquarie, Melba, Scullin and Ngunnawal this week and decided the houses had to be closed as a matter of urgency.
In one case, a two-bedroom house had been transformed into seven separate dwellings housing 24 men, women and children, all of whom shared a single toilet. In another instance, up to four families were living in a partitioned garage. Inspectors found large volumes of rubbish, evidence of rodent infestation and filthy and unsanitary cooking and bathroom facilities.
A Canberra man, the owner of all four houses, has been issued with formal notices and inquiries are continuing into possible breaches of health and planning laws.
Perhaps some real headway on affordable accommodation (not home ownership) would make these dives less attractive to the tenants who chose to live in them?