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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4411..


MR QUINLAN: I am just saying it off the top of my head. I do not remember all the budget bids. But we do remember the crystallising moment when we got a legal opinion that said, "If you don't do it, this has serious consequences."So we then had an actual change of circumstance; all of a sudden. Be sure of this: there was an event. Sorry about that, but there was an event.

ACT Housing-fire safety

MS DUNDAS: Mr Speaker, I wish to put a question to the minister for housing, Mr Wood. There has been much discussion about the need for fire safety upgrades being notified as urgent in May 2002. This need for fire safety upgrades was, I understand, raised in an ACT Housing multiunit property plan report which was available in 2000. The ACT ALP election policy-available on the ACT ALP website from, I believe, October 2001-states that Labor will "continue the implementation of the ACT Housing Multi-Unit Property Plan with greater transparency of process and funding allocations".

Minister, considering recent discussion over this matter, can you please explain how the government is planning to meet its election commitment and whether any member of the current government read the ACT Housing multiunit property plan before it was put in as part of ACT Labor Party policy?

MR WOOD: I would have to go back to the paperwork and check on whether you are talking about the party platform or election commitments, and I think those of us in political parties know the distinction. But I think that it is clear that from the time of becoming the minister I have moved actively to put housing on a high priority. I have never stopped talking about it. It is not easy to get large sums of money just for building purposes, if that is what we do, because that is a very large undertaking. The success of my activities has been helped by a legal report and, I think, my comments within the government.

MS DUNDAS: I have a supplementary question. I thank the minister for his words and I appreciate his commitment to housing, but he did not answer my question, which was: how are you going to implement the ACT Labor Party policy of implementing the MUPP with greater transparency of process and funding allocations, and did members of the government read this report before it was put in as part of ACT ALP policy?

MR WOOD: As part of policy, we all have a hand in it. I prepared it in consultation with the usual party structure and I can remember long and hard discussions around a table with my colleagues as we determined our priorities.

Ms Dundas: Did you read the report?

MR WOOD: The report was a significant one. It wasn't generally in the public domain, I had good information about it. I might say that the main thrust of what I committed to at election time was to try to maintain the number of properties that we had. That throws into contrast some aspects of the MUPP program because, under the former government, much of that program was to demolish properties-cannibalise them, if you like-and I was resisting that activity. I have been endeavouring in the year I have been in this job


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