Housing the most vulnerable in our community

ACT Labor is committed to ensuring that all Canberrans have access to safe, secure and affordable housing.  ACT Labor believes that an integrated, holistic approach to housing is necessary to deliver on the needs and expectations of our community.

We have a vision for a city where everyone is housed appropriately and affordably and where the needs of an ageing community are anticipated and catered for.

The ACT Labor Government has, in partnership with the Commonwealth, delivered more than 400 additional housing properties – most of them Older Persons Units – during this term of government to increase public housing stock to almost 12,000.

This is the highest it has been since the former Liberal government sold off more than 1000 properties as a cost-cutting measure.

We have also invested in innovative models of community housing to provide Canberrans with options and flexibility, and we have increased funding and services at the acute end to reduce homelessness and support rough sleepers into stable accommodation. But there is more to do.

If re-elected, ACT Labor will deliver more than $10 million to develop new models for social housing and supported accommodation for vulnerable people, including:

Build 20 new, aged-specific units for older tenants downsizing from larger public housing properties

Build new accommodation for apprentices in Canberra.

Deliver new respite accommodation and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with high support needs

This is in addition to the $8.25 million in new social housing initiatives already announced in the past few weeks.

Policy Costings

Over four years, ACT Labor will provide additional capital funding of:

  • $5.8 million to build twenty 2-bedroom units for older tenants downsizing from public housing

  • $2.95 million to build seven 3-bedroom units as affordable housing for apprentices in the ACT

  • $1.5 million to design and build a culturally appropriate property for the provision of respite for up to five Indigenous people with high support needs

We will also provide recurrent funding of:

  • $0.65 million per year to provide care to residents at the respite care accommodation facility for Indigenous people, once it has been completed.

Capital

 

2013-14 ($m)

2014-15 ($m)

2015-16 ($m)

2016-17 ($m)

TOTAL ($m)

Housing for older tenants downsizing from public housing

0.87

0.87

2.03

2.03

5.80

Apprentice housing

0.58

0.87

1.50

0.00

2.95

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-respite

0.00

0.00

0.60

0.90

1.50

TOTAL

1.45

1.74

4.13

2.93

10.25

Recurrent

 

2013-14 ($m)

2014-15 ($m)

2015-16 ($m)

2016-17 ($m)

TOTAL ($m)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respite

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.65

0.65

TOTAL

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.65

0.65

Tailor-made housing for older tenants downsizing from public housing

In 2009 the ACT Labor Government decided to use the Commonwealth’s Nation Building and Jobs Plan Stimulus Package – which pledged $87 million for social housing in the ACT – to construct multi-unit developments across Canberra specifically designed for older persons.

Almost 300 properties were constructed over the next three years under that program, and allocation was targeted at older public housing tenants who wanted to downsize.

The result was a major success. Hundreds of three, four and even five bedroom Housing ACT properties were voluntarily vacated, allowing families experiencing or at risk of homelessness to be accommodated. Meanwhile, older people were accommodated in brand new, age-specific and environmentally friendly units that were still close to their neighbours and community network.

Following on from the success and demand for this initiative, a re-elected ACT Labor will build twenty 2-bedroom units for aged-specific housing for older tenants downsizing from public housing, at a cost of $5.8 million.

 

More affordable housing for apprentices in Canberra

ACT Labor is committed to providing assistance with education and training which leads to long term employment for young Canberrans, and we recognise that the availability of affordable housing is important.

The ACT Labor Government has made significant investments to increase student accommodation in Canberra, but we recognise that apprentices also need similar support, as accommodation costs can be a challenge on a training wage.

That is why an ACT Labor Government will build affordable housing for young people who are working and training full-time as apprentices, thereby supporting them to receive qualifications and well-paid employment.

This will not only benefit the apprentices, but also help ACT employers to attract and retain apprentices in today’s competitive market.

ACT Labor will invest $2.95 million over four years to build seven 3-bedroom units that will be available to eligible apprentices for the period of their apprenticeship.  Details such as eligibility and other elements of the program’s design will be finalised in consultation with unions, industry groups and training organisations.

This initiative sits well within the existing Youth Housing Program, including Our Place, which provides 24 young people who have previously experienced difficulties with their accommodation, community based supports and including housing, to enable them to participate in education and training leading to employment.

 

New respite accommodation and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with high support needs

ACT Labor recognises that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a preference for Aboriginal-specific services, and are reluctant to access mainstream services. That is why we have already put in place a range of health services that are culturally specific, but we recognise that there is more we can do.

ACT Labor will work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body to design a culturally appropriate property for the provision of respite for up to five people with high support needs.  Funding of $1.5 million will be provided to build the facility.

Individual clients may experience chronic health issues, the effects of ageing and some with acquired brain injury, physical disability or intellectual disability.  The cost of support for the client group will be provided from a range of sources and is estimated at $650,000 per year.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respite service will be designed to give a carer a break from their caring duties and is proposed to be in the form of residential respite care for the care recipient. This service will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways are respected and particularly will have an individualistic approach that recognises the importance of including family and kinship networks.

These commitments are in addition to the new social housing initiatives that we have already announced, bringing ACT Labor’s total new investment to more than $18 million over four years.

  • $3.0 million for the construction of three independent living housing complexes in partnership with community housing group Project Independence 

  • $3.75 million to build and service two 6-bedroom houses that provide congregate living for disability tenants with relatively low support needs

  • $1.5 million to build five 2-bedroom units at one site for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged accommodation.