ACT Government expands nation-leading investment in social housing

The ACT Government has today announced it is expanding its nation-leading investment in public housing to build at least 260 homes for Canberrans who need them.

The ACT Government has injected an additional $61 million into public housing through a package of investments that will provide additional housing for people in need.

The ACT Government will allocate $32 million in land and extend the Growing and Renewing Public Housing program for a 6th year with a further $20 million to allow for the construction of 60 additional new public housing dwellings. This bring the total additional public housing under the program to at least 260 homes, plus the renewal of 1,000 properties.

The focus of the additional construction will be on housing for people with a disability and older Canberrans through Class C adaptable builds.

The ACT Government has now significantly increased what was already the largest per capita investment in public housing in Australia. The ACT provides the most public housing per 1000 people of any Australian state or territory at 26 per 1000 people, more than double the national average of 12.

The government is also committed to making sure that existing public housing properties are maintained and refreshed to make sure that tenants have a comfortable, affordable home.

The ACT Government invests $40 million every year to maintain public housing properties. The government has allocated an additional $8.9 million over two years for general property and energy efficiency upgrades in public housing.

This funding will see new reverse cycle heating and cooling, highly efficient electric hot water systems and new stoves installed for up to 1,300 homes. At least 250 properties will receive upgrades to their kitchens, bathrooms or laundries, as well as roof replacements to some standalone dwellings.

Four of Housing ACT’s multi-unit complexes will also be upgraded with external painting at two complexes, replacement balconies at another and major roof upgrades at a fourth.

The existing maintenance contract for public housing provides for employment diversity, which the government will leverage to encourage this injection of maintenance funding to provide opportunities for women. The Government expects this to create and protect an additional 80 jobs.

Community housing will also be supported as part of this package through an increase to the existing Land Tax Exemption pilot that will allow it to apply to 125 properties. The government will also remove the current time period of 2 years for this exemption.

Community housing providers have expertise in meeting the complex needs of some members of the ACT community. The government is committed to providing community housing providers with certainty through longer term leases. The governments partnership with CatholicCare providing supported accommodation in Kaleen is an example of where this might be possible.

The ACT Government believes every Canberran, no matter their circumstances, should have access to safe and affordable housing that suits their needs. This new investment will ensure that Canberra’s public housing stock can meet demand as this city grows.

The ACT Government is increasing the availability public housing for people who need it. This program will also support the recovery of the ACT’s economy by protecting and creating more local jobs in the building and construction sector, including 80 jobs in over the next two years for maintenance works.

With this investment, over 10 years, to 2025 the ACT Government will have invested more than $1 billion in public housing.

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