Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 3642..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
In recommendation 2 the committee recommended that security of tenure be available for community housing tenants. The government response says that the government agrees in principle; but when you read the detail you find that the government is saying that it supports security of tenure being offered by community - based housing providers on terms and conditions similar to those offered to public housing tenants. That was the whole subject of the discussion by the committee, for heaven's sake. Community housing has traditionally and conventionally been seen to be a different form of public housing and this government's reforms were changing that radically. Nothing has changed here. How can the government say that it agrees in principle when, basically, it is sticking with the same thing?
In recommendation 3 the committee recommended that the government not proceed with the proposed further segmentation of the applicant list. The government says that it agrees in principle with that, but then you look at the detail you find that it is going to stay there in four areas: applicants in urgent need of housing; applicants for whom the private rental market is not viable as a long - term option; applicants with affordability problems; and tenants wishing to transfer within the public housing stock for reasons of personal preference.
Maybe I should remind the minister of what was said by the committee about that and what the majority of submissions said the concerns were. The concerns were that a segmented waiting list necessitates the ranking of competing needs and potentially marginalises those whose only need is affordability based; that the changes would reduce fairness of access and applicants in categories 3 and 4 may never get an offer of accommodation, which fits in with the government's whole philosophy, of course; that the changes would lead to longer waiting periods for many and older people in categories 3 and 4 could be adversely affected if they had to wait for three or four years for accommodation; and that the changes were not reflected in the draft program, which could result in discrimination and unfair treatment of applicants. Those matters have not been addressed.
Then we have recommendation 4, in which the committee recommended that the government urgently review the exclusion barrier of $100. From my quick reading of that, it appears that the government is saying that it will await the recommendations of the poverty task group before undertaking a review of this policy; so perhaps there has been a little bit of give there.
The committee called on the government to urgently review the proposal to increase the minimum rent to $30. That was agreed to in part. The government says that it will await the recommendations of the poverty task group before implementing this proposal. What does that mean? They are going to wait for the recommendations of the poverty task group, but they are going to implement the proposal anyway regardless of what the group says. That is bizarre.
Then we have the recommendation about a minimum rebate of $5. Everyone agreed with that; it was the government's proposal. The recommendation on the rental bond loan scheme was agreed to, the government saying that the existing rental bond scheme was introduced as a means of managing the applicant list and it is no longer necessary to allocate rent bond loans through ACT Housing.