ANDREW Barr says the New Zealand city of Christchurch is in the midst of major urban renewal following the sequence of earthquakes from September 2010 to December 2011 and their experiences can help with the planned renewal of Canberra – particularly in public housing.
“Christchurch, with a population of 368,000, is keen to use its 10-year rebuilding program to improve social outcomes for the community. For very different reasons, our two cities are renewing city infrastructure. During my trip to New Zealand I have seen firsthand how, as part of the project to rebuild Christchurch, Housing NZ is investing in public housing for the city itself and the broader Canterbury region,” Andrew says.
“Earlier this month, I announced the latest development in the ACT Government’s renewal of public housing with the replacement of Owen Flats in Lyneham. This is part of a much broader renewal of public housing that will see more than a 1000 modern homes built to replace ageing multi-unit developments, including several along the Northbourne corridor.
“Our investment in urban renewal presents an opportunity to carefully drive the transformation of the gateway to the national capital- creating a greater level of social inclusion and equality whilst boosting economic growth.
“These are also key aspects of the Housing NZ plan. I have heard from the people leading the redevelopment of Christchurch about the clear path laid out in their 10-year plan.
“Like Canberra, Christchurch is committed to providing homes that meet the needs of tenants now and into the future. Another aspect of the broader renewal has been the willingness of Christchurch to investigate public-private partnerships to maximise benefits for the city and minimise costs.
“New Zealand has long been a leader in promoting social inclusion. Learning from their renewal will be valuable in shaping our transformation of Canberra. I hope to bring many of the ideas I have witnessed back to the nation’s capital to help drive our own renewal agenda.”