ACT government seeks more Canberra property for new public housing

Emma Kelly

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr is aiming to deliver "high-quality accommodation".
Chief Minister Andrew Barr is aiming to deliver “high-quality accommodation”. Photo: Chris Pearce

The ACT government is searching for more property throughout Canberra for the development of public housing.

The Public Housing Renewal Taskforce has opened a second round of expressions of interest for suitable residential developments the government can buy to re-boost its stock.

The government has already secured contracts for 14 projects as a result of the first round, which closed in July, at a cost of $69.8 million.

This included 157 dwellings in Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Gungahlin and the inner north.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said a number of contracts had been settled, with 30 of the properties now housing tenants.

Mr Barr announced the second round of property buybacks in February.

The latest expressions of interest will remain open until the end of 2018 or until the taskforce has secured enough replacement housing.

Mr Barr said the process allowed the government to build new homes, or find existing properties, to replace outdated and unsuitable housing stock.

It’s part of the ACT government’s plan to continue moving about 1500 public housing tenants from ageing buildings, including from along Northbourne Avenue and the Allawah and Bega Court flats.

The government aims to continue the territory’s “salt and pepper” approach to the distribution of public housing throughout Canberra, breaking up concentrations in the inner north and inner south.

Close to 1300 units are being built to replace existing public housing, with newly-built dwellings to make up about 10 per cent of the territory’s total public housing stock.

“The public housing renewal program will ensure our tenants have high-quality accommodation that meets their needs,” Mr Barr said.

“The construction of new homes also supports more than 2500 construction jobs over the life of the program.”

Mr Barr said the taskforce was looking for one- to four-bedroom freestanding houses, cluster houses, townhouses and apartments across Canberra, “particularly mid-Canberra suburbs with low concentrations of public housing”.

“It will consider housing at all stages of development, from land held under option to newly-constructed developments and completed projects with units available for vacant possession,” Mr Barr said.

“Local builders who took part in the first EOI [expressions of interest] found it was great for their business.

“The savings and benefits provided through working with the taskforce, such as reduced holding and finance costs, minimised finance requirements and expedited settlement on completion allowed them to take on housing renewal projects in addition to their existing work.”

The expressions of interest stage is a rolling tender process, allowing the taskforce to continuously assess proposals.

For more information, visit www.tenders.act.gov.au or contact the taskforce on 6207 0991 or by emailing housingrenewal@act.gov.au

 

Source : Canberra Times

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