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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 516..


MRS CROSS (continuing):

I know that, whilst in government, one can tend to become a little overconfident at times, but I don't think that is acceptable language. According to standing orders, that sort of language is out of order, so I would like the Deputy Chief Minister to retract that word.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mrs Cross. I did not hear the exchange because there was probably a bit too much going on.

MRS CROSS: It was heard on this side.

Mr Quinlan: Mr Speaker, I did say that. If it is your judgment that it was unparliamentary-

MR SPEAKER: It would probably be better if you withdrew it.

Mr Quinlan: Yes. I withdraw that.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Quinlan.

Housing Trust tenants

MR CORNWELL (5.27): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the government notice that I intend to continue to actively pursue, on behalf of my constituents, the issue of inappropriate behaviour by ACT Housing Trust tenants.

I condemn the ACT Housing Trust's view that the resolution of neighbourhood disputes arising from anti-social behaviour by public housing tenants is the responsibility of the responsible neighbour. Where there has been activity or behaviour that breaches the agreement signed by the tenant, the onus for finding a solution should rest with the landlord-in this case ACT Housing-and that landlord should actively demand that the offensive activity or behaviour cease, or the tenancy will be terminated.

When a tenant has destroyed the neighbourhood's right to quiet enjoyment, damaged the property, established a pattern of not paying rent or has carried out an illegal activity such as growing or dealing in drugs on the premises, I believe ACT Housing has a right-indeed an obligation-to deal decisively with the problem for the sake of the safety, security and quiet enjoyment of the immediate neighbours.

I am pleased there is currently a review of the social circumstances found in ACT Housing properties, particularly the complexes. However, the disturbance that can be caused by even one socially unfit tenant in a regular one or two homes per block suburb can cause instability in that neighbourhood, if that particular tenant is not leaned on to modify his or her behaviour. It is not acceptable that desirable tenants feel obliged to move house in order to avoid embarrassment because ACT Housing will not enforce its own tenancy agreements.

Today, one of my constituents, herself a tenant in public housing in Yarralumla, advised me that she has been back to court and has successfully extended an existing restraining order against her ACT Housing tenant neighbours for a further 12 months. For two years this lady and her two young sons have suffered physical violence, verbal abuse, and the noise and stench of a chookrun just three metres from their bedroom windows.


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