Putting our community first: Public housing consultations in Murrumbidgee

Dear concerned residents,

Like you, I am appalled at the poor communication and consultation from the Government on the proposed public housing renewal sites in Murrumbidgee.

As your Greens representative, I support public housing which needs to be part of high quality urban planning for all of Canberra. I believe that genuine community consultation is essential to achieving a fair city for all Canberrans.

All Canberrans should have safe, secure and affordable housing

As Canberra has the second highest rate of homelessness in Australia, there is no question that we need more affordable and public housing.

As Minister for Housing, my colleague Shane Rattenbury secured an ACT Government commitment in 2014 to grow the public housing stock for the first time in a decade. This commitment included offering all residents in the Northbourne corridor the option of staying in the area, or moving into other suburbs. Prior to this, public housing provision had been decreasing in Canberra, causing homelessness and the issues we are seeing today.

The Greens remain committed to improving housing affordability in Canberra. This will include more public housing which should be equitably spread across the city.

Genuine community consultation is essential

I’ve visited each proposed public housing site and intend to attend all relevant community meetings. I expect Minister Berry’s office and the Public Housing Renewal Taskforce will also meet with our community. At present, they are failing to do so.

It’s clear that the communities of Chapman, Wright and Holder don’t feel like they are being listened to respectfully. Instead of being left behind guessing, our community should receive regular updates on project timelines and real consultation opportunities. The government should be consulting with the community, not just telling us about decisions. Or even worse, not telling us about the decisions they have made that affect the community at all.

Have your say

I invite you to join me for further discussions on these important community matters at the following events:

  • Wednesday 5 April: The Public Housing Renewal Taskforce will take questions at the conclusion of the Woden Valley Community Council meeting (Southern Cross Club in Phillip, from 8:30pm).

  • Thursday 6 April: Rescheduled Weston Creek Community Council meeting (Chapman Primary School, from 7:30pm).

  • Saturday 8 April: The Public Housing Renewal Taskforce will hold a drop-in information session at Weston Creek Community Centre on proposed sites in Chapman, Wright and Holder (11:00am – 2:00pm, Parkinson St, Weston, adjacent to Cooleman Court Shopping Centre). You can RSVP here.

Development applications have not yet been submitted for any of the proposed sites. I expect that before they are submitted the government will listen to the community and take your concerns on board. Once they are submitted you will have an opportunity to make formal comments which the government must consider. The Legislative Assembly and its Members do not have a role in making decisions on development applications.

I will continue to attend community events, listen to your concerns, and insist that the government pays attention—just as I did in question time last week. Watch here (search ‘Weston Creek’ and see Q4).

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Le Couteur MLA

Member for Murrumbidgee