ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Citizens’ housing report welcomed: Our turn to act

17 August 2018

The ACT Council of Social Service has welcomed the new report of the Housing Choices Collaboration Hub – a group of 31 randomly selected individuals representing a broad cross-section of the Canberra community – and has called on the ACT Government to listen, respond and act on their recommendations.

The group convened to discuss how housing policy in the ACT can be improved to meet the needs of the city as it changes in the future, with the goal of providing the ACT Government with community-driven recommendations for housing policy.

ACTCOSS Director Susan Helyar said, “Our submission responding to the Housing Choices Discussion Paper and presentation to the Hub on 26 May 2018 focused on the need for action on affordable rental; options for using a sizable investment in housing to grow the community sector and public housing; and the need for action and attention in other areas, including on planning and building quality. All of these issues were the focus of recommendations in the report to government from the Hub.

“On public housing, the Hub called for an increase in government housing in line with growth of population, including increase in the type of dwellings to reflect the changing demographics.

“We hope that the government acts on this recommendation.

“The Housing Choices Collaboration Hub is the first demonstration of the Barr Government’s preferred style of consultation. The credibility of this style of consultation rests on decision makers not already having their minds made up, being open to advice and considering it seriously.

“That is one reason we were surprised the ACT Government appears to stop short of pledging to maintain public housing at 7.12% of housing in the Territory in its response to recommendations by the Estimates Committee in the same week the Hub released their report to government.

“Everyone knows housing affordability is in crisis in the ACT, with the Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot identifying that there were no rental properties in the ACT able to be accessed by a person on most forms of income support without making significant compromises in essential areas of life like health and heating.

“Growing public housing stock and community housing provision to meet community needs will be vital in delivering on the Barr Government promise of an ACT Affordable Housing Strategy to deliver the thousands more affordable homes needed”, Ms Helyar concluded.

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