‘Desperately needed’ housing investment welcomed

30 July 2022

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today welcomed a $30 million investment to deliver promised public housing and $57.3 million to undertake public housing repairs.
These investments are part of a package announced by the ACT Government in the lead up to the ACT budget on 2 August, comprising:

$30 million investment to support the Growing and Renewing Public Housing program to deliver the 400 additional public housing dwellings promised in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement
$57.3 million to undertake additional public housing repairs and maintenance in addition to $80 million previously allocated in the 2021-22 budget
Funding to explore new policy directions to address housing affordability for Canberrans on low-to-medium incomes
A focus on supporting community housing providers (CHPs) to participate in build to rent projects to deliver affordable rentals
Investment in research to deliver new proposals and models for affordable housing.

ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “Today’s announcement by the ACT Government is a long-awaited and desperately needed response to the ACT’s housing crisis.
“It acknowledges advocacy by ACTCOSS, ACT Shelter and the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) calling for major investment in, and engagement with, the issue of housing affordability and homelessness in Canberra.
“The ACT has an immediate shortfall of 3,100 social housing dwellings and 2,400 affordable rentals. Every day 2000 Canberrans experience homelessness.
“This investment should help to deliver the 400 public housing dwellings already promised by the ACT Government and provide the resources required to improve existing public housing after years of neglect,” Dr Campbell said.  
ACTCOSS also welcomed other initiatives including proposals aimed at encouraging private developers to partner with CHPs to deliver more affordable rentals through build to rent schemes, and funding to develop new models for the delivery of affordable housing.
Dr Campbell said: “Our not-for-profit CHPs stand ready to deliver affordable rentals for Canberrans. However, they need appropriate financial support from the ACT Government including access to affordable land and subsidies. If given this boost, CHPs can leverage this to access additional investment from the Commonwealth Government and other sources including superannuation funds.
“We are hopeful that these build to rent initiatives and work to develop new models for delivering affordable housing will result in additional support for our CHPs,” Dr Campbell said.
ACTCOSS also welcomed today’s announcement on additional land release, and a partnership with the Commonwealth to develop the CSIRO Ginninderra site and to renew the AIS precinct. However, Dr Campbell said that these initiatives must deliver for those who have the least.
“ACTCOSS and other stakeholders will work closely with the ACT Government to ensure that any new developments include significant proportions of social and affordable homes.
“All Canberrans – including those on low incomes – should be included in, and benefit from, the utilisation and development of Canberra’s land and resources,” Dr Campbell said.
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.

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