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Tuesday, 18 June 1996
Page: 1723


Senator MARGETTS(5.46 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

7.   Preamble, page 3 (after line 16), after paragraph (h), insert:

   ; and (ha)   housing assistance will be provided in ways that ensure that people are offered a choice of housing in most areas, that ensures location of housing reflects the demand within various suburbs, and does not geographically marginalise recipients of assistance either by locale of available housing or through price mechanisms; and

         (hb)   housing assistance will be provided in ways that reflect the need to take environmental costs into account, and to reduce operating costs to tenants or purchasers through minimum standards of insulation, provision of renewable hot-water systems, provision of energy-efficient heating, and other conservation measures.

8.   Preamble, page 3 (line 22), after "housing", insert ", environmentally designed to minimise human impacts on the ecology, and to conserve energy and water wherever possible,".

9.   Preamble, page 3 (line 25), after "housing", insert ", while ensuring that appropriate and affordable housing is available through public provision of housing".

11.   Preamble, page 4 (line 4), after "contribute to", insert "ecological sustainability, the National Greenhouse Response Strategy, and ".

Aside from the environmental impact of urban design, there are social impacts. Cities where people can walk or cycle to most destinations and where there is easy, cheap and reliable public transport for longer distances have many amenity advantages. It is more pleasant, it is more convivial and it is more social. It is safer, since a major factor in reducing crime is an environment where people are on the street in neighbourhoods where they relate to others on a regular, face-to-face basis. That is what neighbourhoods were about before we lost them to cars, faceless crowds and shopping districts.

The demographic tendency today is for inner city areas to become gentrified as their advantages are recognised. The lower income people are pushed to the urban fringes or isolated in welfare ghettos. They are often state housing ghettos. We have seen a number of state housing apartments bulldozed in Fremantle, North Fremantle and East Fremantle, although they were fairly well integrated into other housing. Tenants in North Fremantle, mostly older people, were moved out. We have seen the rise of new Homeswest areas on the urban fringes of other less desirable areas such as Medina. Of course, areas like Balga in Western Australia remain important state housing suburbs.

The Greens have supported plans occasionally floated to put more public housing in inner city areas and to see more diversity in where housing is provided. That is what we are attempting to include—people being offered a choice of housing in most areas. So we are strengthening our concerns here, wishing to do such things as minimise human impacts on the ecology and ensure that appropriate and affordable housing is available through the public provision of housing.

In amendment No. 11, the Greens are asking that the programs contribute to ecological sustainability and the national greenhouse response strategy. It would seem to be obvious that if you have a housing program and some kind of commitment to the greenhouse response strategy, you actually use that. If you accept that ecological sustainability is part of how housing programs should operate, then it is very appropriate that such things as the national greenhouse strategy be part of the way you handle them. This is what we are doing with these amendments. We are being specific and setting out the kinds of things that should be quite achievable. They should be integrated into programs such as housing. I commend our amendments to the chamber.