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Just over 150 public housing tenants relocated to date

Kirsten Lawson

Published: September 5 2016 - 12:00AM

The government has moved 151 of the 1500 public housing tenants being relocated in Canberra's biggest ever shake-up of public housing.

The government is buying and building 1288 new homes for the public housing tenants, as it seeks to free up large blocks on Northbourne Avenue for sale, and demolish the troubled blocks of units in the city's inner south.

So far, it has cleared the Dickson Flats, which housed 21 single men, and the 48 Owen Flats, both on Northbourne Avenue.

The Allawah flats in the city - part of the "ABC" set - are to be cleared by the end of the year.

On Monday, Housing Minister Yvette Berry will visit a construction site on Bon Scott Crescent in the new Gungahlin suburb of Moncrieff, where 40 townhouses are being built for people with disabilities and the elderly. The two-bedroom townhouses are to be ready in the middle of next year, with Ms Berry saying they are modern and sustainable, replacing what was aged and inefficient public housing.

As well as building replacement units, the government is buying homes back from builders and others, with agreements made so far to buy 163 homes in Gungahlin, the inner north and Belconnen, costing $68.8 million, or an average of $422,000 each.

In March, government figures suggested it had bought 203 dwellings, 66 in Gungahlin (Casey, Franklin, Palmerston, Moncrieff and Bonner), 75 in central Canberra (Turner, O'Connor, Dickson, Downer and Lyneham), 30 in Tuggeranong (Kambah) and 32 in Belconnen (Holt and Macgregor). Just one was a house, the rest townhouses and apartments.

Ms Berry said about 85 per cent of the 1288 new homes were "in various stages of the procurement process". More than 120 were occupied, 465 were being built or bought, and early work was underway for about 500 more. The program would cost $550 million over five years, and create more than 2500 jobs, she said.

The public housing renewal program covers Northbourne Avenue, the Allawah, Bega and Currong flats, the Red Hill flats, Stuart Flats in Griffith, Gowrie Court in Narrabundah and part of Strathgordon Court in Woden.

A timetable released in mid 2105 suggested the Karuah Garden Flats in Dickson, the Red Hill flats, and half of the Northbourne Flats would be vacated in 2016-17.

The Currong flats, home more recently to students, have also been cleared and are being demolished. The Currong and Allawah block was bought at auction for $47 million by SHL Developments in February.

The government's pubic housing website shows most of the new public housing developments in train are in Gungahlin and Coombs and Tuggeranong.

In Tuggeranong, 25 homes are being built in Monash; 20 two-bedroom townhouses have been completed on Goldstein Crescent, Chisholm; and 26 two-bedroom homes are planned for the corner of Drakeford Drive and Mortimer Lewis Drive, in Greenway.

In Gungahlin, Moncrieff is set for a number of units, in developments between one and three storeys, as well as 12 freestanding homes for public housing tenants. In all, 106 public housing dwellings are planned for the suburb.

Construction has begun on two sites in Amaroo, on the corner of Armada and Mornington streets, with 21 homes all up. Thirteen homes are being built on a section on Kelleway Avenue in Nicholls. A proposal for 29 apartments near a childcare centre in Franklin, Gungahlin, was abandoned this year after community opposition.

In Coombs, in the Molonglo Valley, 150 homes are planned across seven separate blocks, each development to have between 16 and 25 dwellings.

In Belconnen, 12 two-bedroom units are planned at for Starke Street, Holt.

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