The ACT government has handed its 1000th redeveloped public housing dwelling over to Housing ACT in Monash, as it looks to complete the promised 1288 dwellings by the end of June this year.
Housing Minister Yvette Berry joined public servants and new tenants of 12 apartments and 18 townhouses in Monash to hand over the keys to more energy efficient homes in the Tuggeranong suburb.
While the controversial program has been criticised for pushing public housing tenants out from the city, and the cost of construction on the new homes has risen at least 30 per cent since it started in 2015, the government has insisted it will be complete by the end of June.
The government will need to ensure contracts are drawn up for the remaining 288-odd dwellings by that deadline, if it is to capitalise on a 15 per cent bonus funding injection under the Commonwealth's since-abandoned asset recycling initiative.
Ms Berry said delivering the latest 30 homes to tenants was part of the government's commitment to urban renewal and improving social outcomes for public housing tenants.
"The 1,288 dwellings represents approximately 10 per cent of Canberra’s public housing portfolio with the program on track to deliver the remaining properties by mid-2019," she said.
"The remaining dwellings are nearing completion across Gungahlin, Mawson, Wright, Holder, Taylor and Chapman."
The ACT Council of Social Service, among others, has repeatedly voiced concerns the renewal program was not increasing the pool of public or community housing available.
While Ms Berry has since promised an extra 200 dwellings over five years, as part of a second phase to renew 1000 more public dwellings in Canberra over the same period, to be funded through sales of up $100 million worth of existing public land in the city.
Mr Berry said she believed the new tenants of the new homes the government released today would be happy to be in the new dwellings and they would improve the quality of their lives.
She also said the Monash release was close to public transport and shopping centres, though she believed being close to public transport and amenities differed for tenants based on their personal needs.
But she would not answer questions about how the renewal program would actually reduce the waiting list for public housing, the demand for which reached 1962 families as of the start of this month.