Public Housing Maintenance



Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I thank Mr Parton for bringing this urgent motion before the Assembly today.


One of the first complaints I received after being elected in 2016 concerned maintenance of a public housing property in my electorate. The residents were facing many of the specific issues listed in Mr Parton’s motion, and the longstanding problems were not only affecting the household but had also spread to impact surrounding neighbours. Over the past four-and-a-half years, I have had no shortage of complaints about lack of maintenance from residents of public housing.


In addition to complaints made by public-housing residents about maintenance, I have also received complaints about vacant public housing properties. Just the other week, I wrote to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development concerning two properties that have remained vacant for weeks and even months despite appearing to be in good condition. Now, it may very well be the case that these properties have significant maintenance issues that need to be resolved before new residents can move in; however, some time has passed, and I have not received any updates. Neither have my constituents, who all reside nearby and are eager to see these homes occupied again. The good people who live in this particular neighbourhood are conscious of the fact that there is a long waiting list of Canberrans who are desperate for housing, and it naturally does not sit well with them to see these properties seemingly abandoned.


Recently, I received a complaint from another public-housing resident who has been waiting for weeks for essential maintenance on her property. The bathroom regularly floods when it rains and even just when the shower is used. This is an unacceptable standard of living in the nation’s capital. No one should have to wait weeks for such urgent repairs! As we all know, the longer the wait, the more costly the repairs will be as the property continues to deteriorate.


We can do better than this. Much better! If any other landlord in this territory treated its tenants this way, those opposite would be the first to name them, shame them, and drag them to court. The ACT Government should be ashamed for having become what may well be the territory’s shonkiest landlord.

I heartily support Mr Parton’s motion today and commend it to the Assembly.


Thank you.

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