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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 2038

Housing, Homelessness and Emergency Management

Mr KEENAN (Stirling) (14:20): My question is to the Minister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness and Minister for Emergency Management. Will the minister outline his future plans for his portfolio over the next 18 months?

Mr McCLELLAND (BartonMinister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness and Minister for Emergency Management) (14:20): Thank you very much for this opportunity to outline my portfolio responsibilities over the next 18 months. In the important area of emergency management, my focus will be on ensuring a greater focus on mitigation measures, preventative measures, to prevent people from being the subject of natural disasters in the first place. I am publicly on the record as saying, quite frankly, I think there is a lot of attention paid—and appropriately so—to providing assistance to people and communities once they have been the victim of natural disasters. But I think we as a parliament and indeed as dedicated local members—and I have seen many dedicated local members—need to really put a focus on preventative measures.

In terms of my housing and homelessness responsibilities, we will be progressing the National Partnership Agreement on Social Housing. We will be pursuing the Social Housing Initiative, which involves $5.8 billion. By the middle of this year we will have all but constructed some 20,000 properties and will have repaired about 80,000 properties. In addition, under the National Affordable Housing Agreement we will be putting $6.2 billion into assistance for those who are homeless, including Indigenous Australians. Under the National Rental Affordability Scheme we have allocated $4.3 billion to reduce the rental payable not only by those who are vulnerable to homelessness but also by essential workers such as firemen, police officers, teachers and nurses. That assistance of $4.3 billion has been provided on the basis that proprietors of properties will reduce their rental accommodation to 80 per cent of market value. Work is being rolled out under the Housing Affordability Fund to assist state and local governments to implement infrastructure improvements in areas and get resources into those areas to reduce the cost of development so that those properties can be sold on the market at a cheaper value. Indeed, one example in Melbourne recently saw a $10,000 reduction in market property values. I will shortly be announcing that some 73 areas will benefit under the Building Better Regional Cities Program. (Time expired)