Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 451..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
people who are less than 18 years of age will not have to pay 25 per cent of their weekly income in rent; they will only have to pay 10 per cent. That is an improvement, but it is not acknowledging the fundamental problem here.
This is not a problem just for young people. It is actually an issue about the status of someone who is sharing a house. They are contributing to the rent, but they are not the person renting the house. Saying that they have to pay the same amount because they are sharing a government house flies in the face of how any other sharing of a house would work in our society. You contribute to the rent; you do not see the rent increased according to the number of people living in the house.
For example, people who are living at home may well be creating support for each other in the house that is beneficial to, dare I say it, social capital in our community, yet they are now going to be getting charged basically the same rent. Not only will that cause difficulty for certain people, particularly adult children with disabilities or some kind of problem, but also people may well decide that they might as well just go and get their own house as they will be paying the same amount and you may find a greater demand on public housing as a result of that. I will be supporting the amendments but I think that they fall short of what the committee would have wanted.
I have already obtained an extension of time. I think I have covered all the issues several times previously, at least twice in this place, so I do not think that I will continue to go through them all again. I think the Greens' position here is on the record. I urge members to consider Mr Wood's disallowance motion very seriously, particularly Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne. I do not know whether Mr Osborne is here today, but I was surprised at their vote last time.
Mr Rugendyke, as I recall, was very insistent at the beginning that whatever happened was going to be okay as long as it did not impact on existing tenants, which was a bit of a strange reason anyway because you would want to have a just system for everybody. The fact that existing tenants are being exempted is going to make it less difficult politically for the government, but you would hope that any system the government implements would be for everybody.
It is quite obvious that existing tenants are going to be affected by this new approach to housing. We have already gone through that in this place. There will be several ways, several triggers, for existing tenants to fall under this new policy approach to public housing, so that that basic objection of Mr Rugendyke's has not been supported when we have looked in detail at how this new approach or these so-called reforms to public housing will affect people. I am sorry that this government, which does claim to have such an interest in social capital, poverty, et cetera, is still sticking to its position on this matter, except for this very minor amendment.
Mr Wood: Mr Speaker, I rise to a point of order. I am not sure that it is possible to move an amendment to this disallowance motion. Could you make a ruling on that?
MR SPEAKER: I have taken some advice on this matter. There is no point of order, but I would draw attention to the Subordinate Laws Act 1989, section 18, which reads: