The ACT government is facing calls to invest more in the housing sector as it considers how it may redevelop some of Canberra's last remaining inner-city public housing flats.
Recommendations from a study into redevelopment opportunities for five complexes in the Ainslie Avenue corridor are being considered by government officials.
Complexes in the prime Reid corridor could be the latest in a series of public housing units to be redeveloped.
The territory government's so-called "urban renewal" program has seen massive blocks in the inner-city, most notably along Northbourne Avenue and Currong Street, redeveloped into private apartments.
But the community sector has expressed concerns that profits from the past sales have not been properly reinvested into the housing sector.
ACT Council of Social Services chief executive Dr Emma Campbell said evidence suggested previous "urban renewal" had not delivered for all residents of the territory.
The ACT government commissioned a study last year into the redevelopment opportunities for five Ainslie Avenue blocks: Ainslie Flats, Braddon Court, Jerilderie Court, Reid Court and Kanangra Court.
Consultants Purdon Planning were tasked to examine various redevelopment options to determine which would achieve "highest use" and the "best return to market".
This could be apartments, townhouses or mixed-use precincts, which could include a mix of private, community and social housing.
Housing ACT and the territory's planning directorate are providing future planning advice to the government based on the study's recommendations.
The report is set to be presented to the ACT cabinet but no information about recommendations from the report could be given to The Canberra Times with an ACT government spokeswoman citing cabinet in confidence.
Freedom of information documents also show more public housing units will be put up for future redevelopment investigations but the names of the complexes were redacted from the documents.
The documents did indicate Northbourne Avenue's trouble-plagued Condamine Court is flagged for a future investigation.
The ACT government embarked on its "urban renewal" agenda in 2015. As part of the first tranche, close to 1300 public housing units across Braddon, Dickson, Griffith, Lyneham, Lyons, Narrabundah, Red Hill were demolished and sold.
A former public housing block in Turner is the only block from this program that remains unsold.
The blocks were sold off to various prominent Canberra developers, including Geocon, JW Land, Art Group and Morris Property Group.
Sales on Northbourne Avenue alone totalled more than $180 million.
In 2019, the ACT government announced it would sell off a further $500 million of the territory's public housing stock, or 700 properties, but little detail has been provided about what blocks would be sold and when.
While the first five years of the renewal program focused on big multi-unit blocks, the government is now focused on lower-density blocks such as single houses and small groups of units.
But the government's plan said planning studies for future development will be undertaken for the remaining public housing flats with a high concentration of tenants.
Dr Campbell said while she understood why the government redeveloped multi-unit properties, she felt money was not being reinvested into the housing sector.
"Many ACT multi-unit properties are old, in poor repair and not meeting the needs of the people that live there," she said.
"However, whilst we are seeing lots of examples of this so-called 'urban renewal' - the demolishing of multi-unit complexes in the inner Canberra region - we are not seeing the promised investment and progress in replacing those dwellings nor the expansion of community services to support vulnerable tenants.
"Urban renewal cannot be new properties near transport, services and supports for those who can afford it, while Canberrans on low incomes or who face other disadvantages are left struggling, in rent stress - and increasingly - homeless."
ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry has previously said the government would not consider redevelopment options until the government had worked with tenants.
"My focus in the housing portfolio is to put tenants first and I asked that future consideration of these sites not occur until the needs of tenants could be sought and understood," she said.
As part of the renewal program, the territory government has also commissioned a consultant to develop a Conservation Management Plan for Northbourne Avenue's Havelock House.
An ACT government spokeswoman said the work was being undertaken to understand how to best maintain its heritage value. Havelock House was listed in 2014.
"[The study will] set out Havelock House's heritage values in detail and how they can be best conserved and protected while allowing for upgrades or additions that are compatible with the context of the heritage significance and better meet the diverse and contemporary needs of tenants into the future," the spokeswoman said.
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