ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media Release: Affordable Housing Win for Canberra

29 October 2018

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has welcomed the new ACT Housing Strategy announced today by the Chief Minister Andrew Barr MLA and the Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Yvette Berry MLA.  

Key points:

  • The new ACT Strategy includes a $100 million investment in public housing over the next five years. This will deliver at least 200 new homes and the renewal of a further 1,000 homes.
  • The strategy also includes a new target setting aside 15 per cent of government land releases for public, community and affordable housing, including infill development and new suburbs. This will grow the number of homes delivered each year to approximately 630.
  • These targets will be met within a broader plan to maintain a sufficient supply of new land to meet future housing demand. Over the next four years, the government plans to release sites for 17,000 new homes in Canberra.
  • The government will further grow the community housing sector through the provision of 151 dwellings across different sites, to be tenanted and managed so as to achieve a strong social mix and deliver more affordable rental housing on the ground.

ACTCOSS welcomes the strategy which delivers key expectations for significant investment, a focus on public housing, land supply measures and targets and work on renter protections. Challenge is to move from a high-quality plan to a prompt sustained delivery on objectives and targets.

Susan Helyar, Director of ACTCOSS, said, “We agree with the Chief Minister's remarks today that housing is a human right and ensuring the housing market delivers lower cost housing is a task for the ACT as well as the Federal Government.

“We cannot maintain an expectation that the wealth generated by housing grows while low income workers and people on income support are frozen out of Canberra’s market. 

“The Housing Strategy announced today by the ACT Government delivers on substantial community expectations for new affordable rental housing to be delivered in significant quantities, including via public housing. The community cooperation and engagement was extensive and contributed to a high quality strategy.    

“This is a really good and well produced strategy. The challenge now is to move from this solid policy production, to prompt delivery. The government has produced a strategy with sound frameworks and a line of sight between vision and the deliverables. The task now will be comprehensive coordinated and sustained implementation of those deliverables over time. 

“The implementation plan published today details actions; timeframes; directorate responsibilities; and indicators of success.  It will be important that these are independently assessed and evaluated in a coordinated whole of government way with reporting back to community.  

“Community involvement and oversight via a formal mechanism for community, tenant and industry representation remains essential to move us from planning to action”, Ms Helyar said.

For more information or comment please contact
Susan Helyar, Director, on 0448 791 987 or 02 6202 7200