There are 1873 people waiting for public housing in Canberra.
There are more than 11,000 Housing ACT properties in Canberra. This is the Territory’s most valuable asset worth $4.5bill.
To maintain these properties, the cost is $48mill each year, the Territory’s most expensive ongoing contract.
To put things in context we have the highest number of public housing properties in Australia. We have double our nearest rival. In Canberra there are 29 properties for every 1000 people, the next most generous state is NSW with 14 per 1,000.
With this vast portfolio and a population under 400,000 why do we have any waiting list at all?
The answer is simple; we don’t manage them properly. Most properties are inspected every 5 years as opposed to every 6 months in the private sector.
This means that Housing ACT doesn’t know the state of their properties and has no idea if they have been damaged and need repairs. Housing ACT came in for significant criticism for its lax maintenance programme in the last Auditor Generals Report.
This leads to a maintenance contract that responds to emergencies rather than have a reasoned ongoing programme.
The result of this lax policy is that the cost of damage to properties is high. The damage bill from tenants damaging these properties in the past year was $3,846,111. This figure is high and shows a lot of damage being done, which means money is wasted fixing houses and many are out of action until repairs are done. All of which keeps people out in the cold.
If these properties were managed properly, there would be less time when properties were unoccupied because of damage and the neediest in our society could easily be accommodated without increasing the housing stock which is the usual knee jerk reaction to the problem. A problem that should never have existed in the first place.
If and when I am a Canberra Community Voters Party member I will force government to put in place a regular 6 monthly inspection programme which would make sure properties don’t fall into disrepair and everyone on the waiting list would be accommodated.
Homelessness would be eliminated in Canberra.
You can contact our convener Richard Farmer at 0450 735918
6 Lads Place, Dunlop ACT 2615
Authorised by Richard Farmer on behalf of Canberra Community Voters