Housing Minister fails to explain where the money has gone


In Estimates Hearings last Friday, the Minister for Housing made the statement that "You (Shadow Minister for Housing, Mr Mark Parton) had suggested that the ACT Government has transferred money from the public housing project to light rail. That is not the case".

Ms Berry made this statement after Mr Parton tabled the ACT Government’s own contract, the Asset Recycling Initiative contract, signed by Andrew Barr, that the sale of public housing assets will be used to fund the light rail.

The contract goes on to say that the Commonwealth’s incentive payment of an additional 15 per cent of the sale of the public housing assets will also fund the light rail.

The 2019 Commonwealth Treasury Department’s document that reviewed the asset recycling initiative, states that the Commonwealth and ACT Governments agreed to the $447.6 million investment using sale proceeds to construct the tram and that the tram is also supported by the $67.1m incentive payment.

The report goes on to state that the ACT Government did not have funding to deliver the tram, which is why the tram was chosen.

Mr Parton said It is clear the sale amount and the profit amount of public housing assets, that the ACT Government made, has gone to the light rail project.

“Either Ms Berry has no idea how money is spent under her portfolio and no idea on what was happening in Cabinet Meetings she attended, or she has misled the public,” Mr Parton said.

“Either way it is a failure as a Minister.

“Based on Ms Berry’s official statement being diametrically opposed to the publicly available facts, including those agreed to by Andrew Barr, Ms Berry has demonstrated her failure as an ACT Government Minister.

“Ms Berry can’t be trusted with the finances of the public housing portfolio and can’t be trusted with the money of hard working Canberrans,” Mr Parton concluded.