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Affordable housing still a problem


Peter Jean

Cabinet Papers: 1984-1985

Former Labor Territories Minster Tom Uren.

Former Labor Territories Minster Tom Uren.


Housing affordability and economic dependence on the public sector were identified as serious concerns for the ACT in 1984.

In May, cabinet considered a memorandum requested by prime minister Bob Hawke from territories minister Tom Uren on ACT Development issues.

Many of the issues raised in the memo would be included in a similar document today.

Mr Uren reported that the Territory's economy was buoyant, but the situation was ''fragile''.

''The Canberra economy is heavily dependent on public sector activity and has fluctuated between boom and bust conditions, environmental issues and the provision of community facilities, particularly in new suburbs, were accorded insufficient priority by the previous Government.''

Without diversification, the local economy would experience a severe downturn when projects such as the construction of the New Parliament House and the Australian Defence Force Academy were completed, Mr Uren wrote.

''A critical shortage of serviced land for home building inherited from the previous government has sharply escalated home ownership costs beyond the means of low income earners. A drastic shortage of public housing for low income earners exists, again inherited.

''Welfare services have been neglected. There is a professing need to better understand the needs of the under-privileged in the community as a basis for planning corrective action.''


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