Housing is one of the most basic human needs. Sometimes people in our society are unable to provide it for themselves and their families, and it is only right that our society provides them shelter.
While housing stress is hitting Canberrans, bureaucracy is tying up our valuable resources. We need the big-picture approach to address homelessness, but when we lose sight of the smaller detail, we are wasting time, effort, and money. Not only does this get in the way of people getting the help they desperately need, but it puts upward pressure on rates.
There are multiple vacant public housing dwellings in Canberra. One $2.6 million block of 10 units in Bradden has sat vacant and deemed unsafe since 2016. Tenants lived there since its completion in 2012. For 4 years though, the government has not been able to resolve a legal dispute.
In Kaleen, 33 public housing dwellings sat vacant for a year. It took 8 months to select a preferred tenderer after handover of the completion of the units, and at least 5 months since then negotiating a contract. This delay could and should have been avoided so we could get people in to homes immediately.
Spending money on public housing is not a waste, but spending money and leaving properties empty is. Vulnerable Canberrans deserve better.
What can an Independent do?
A comprehensive policy on public housing is difficult for an Independent. I know I would like to see a Canberra where anyone who needs shelter can get it. I support consulting with experts, researching success stories, and reviewing the policies of the major parties that address this.
An Independent crossbench brings something vital to the process though – something missing. The above situations are allowed to happen and fester because of a lack of accountability and scrutiny. The Opposition should have been performing this role, but the problems still exist.
- Investigate and report on public housing projects facing significant and unforeseen delays.
- Provide ongoing scrutiny from the crossbench.
- Spending on public housing is valuable and needed, but when it sits empty, we do everyone a disservice and put upward pressure on rates