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AU Tasmania's public housing waiting list falls to lowest figure in a decade

Property Here - Saturday, January 04, 2014

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Tasmania’s public housing waiting list has fallen to its lowest level in a decade as a result of strong investment and reform, according to the Minister for Human Services Cassy O’Connor. 

The waiting list fell by 5.4% in the three months to September 30 2013, with almost 300 Tasmanians moving into public housing. These figures come from the latest Health and Human Services progress chart.

Since 2009, the Tasmanian Government has invested about $220 million to build around 1,500 new affordable housing properties, in partnership with the former Federal Government.

Another $17 million is being invested this financial year, with another 1,360 homes that will be completed in 2016.

“A comfortable and affordable place to live is a fundamental human right,” Ms O’Connor said.

“As a progressive Government, we’re determined to help low-income Tasmanians put a roof over their head - with the security, opportunity and dignity that brings.

“The Government has an active role to play in sharing wealth and levelling the economic playing field. That’s why we’re increasing the supply of affordable housing, and reforming the sector to prioritise Tasmanians most in need,” she said.

There are some 2,000 Tasmanians still on the waiting list for public housing.

Ms O’Connor also noted that low-income families in private rental properties are also benefitting, with 1,125 Tasmanians receiving rental assistance in the September quarter, up slightly on the previous year.

At the same time, one of Tasmania’s largest affordable housing projects – named Queens Walk Apartments – officially opened last month. The first tenant, Phillip Turnbull has signed a lease, and was welcomed by Ms O’Connor.

The Queens Walk redevelopment is part of the State Government’s broader affordable and social housing strategy to support for Tasmanians on low incomes.

Stage One of the $8.5 million redevelopment is complete, which includes 16 one-bedroom units, 26 two-bedroom units, and a community room.

Formerly known as Stainforth Court, the site will ultimately provide 84 high-quality units and aims to create a welcome community for a diverse range of Tasmanians.

“It’s fantastic to be welcoming people to their impressive new homes – just in time for Christmas,” Ms O’Connor said.

“Queens Walk apartments is a powerful symbol of what we can achieve if we’re brave enough to look beyond the past reputation and stigma of a place, and work towards a bright, dynamic and sustainable future.

“This formerly troubled site has been completely reinvented into a fantastic home and strong community for Tasmanians who need affordable housing.

“As a progressive Government devoted to supporting Tasmanians in need, projects like this are what government all about.

“It should also be a great source of pride for our whole community,” she said.

Stage one, which involved two housing towers, was completed on time and on budget. Stage two, involving another two towers, is on track to be completed in April.

All units are energy-efficient and four one-bedroom units in Stage One are Platinum-standard disability units.

The project has supported 125 construction jobs for Tasmanians so far, including apprentices.