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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1075..


MR WOOD: I will not stray off the subject. I know that it is embarrassing for Mrs Dunne and others. Mr Smyth is reputed to have said, "We can find someone a house overnight,"when in fact the waiting list at that time was six to seven months. That is what we inherited. It would have been worse if we had followed your program of progressively selling off properties. But we have taken a totally different policy line.

The appropriation bill that you, Mr Smyth, and others do not want to pass fairly rapidly ascribes another $33 million to housing. It never crossed your mind to put money into Housing. You took $20 million out of Housing to hand over to Mr Howard, and you have the gall to stand here today and ask us what we are doing about it. We are putting money where our mouth is and, if you had any sense, you would keep yours closed.

Government members: Hear, hear!

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, is the only solution a dispiriting revolving door, where you come out of prison into an ACT multiunit housing complex and you, the government, have failed to address associated drug use and violence issues? Will the minister commit to developing a transitional housing policy in the ACT for ex-prisoners, and others, trying to rebuild their lives?

MR WOOD: We are heading up to election time. We are heading up to the time when Mrs Burke or Mr Smyth or someone else will announce the Liberal Party policy towards housing. I would be very interested to see if they put $13.4 million into homelessness, as we have. I would be very interested to see if they can match the very progressive programs of this government. As I said before, we put our money where our mouth is. We have delivered, where you cut housing. You gave it no priority and had no interest in it-and you more than most!

Public interest disclosure

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Attorney-General and goes to the effectiveness of the Public Interest Disclosure Act and agencies that have carriage of such disclosures. The Assembly would be aware of reports on the front page of the Canberra Times of an internal survey of staff at the University of Canberra in which some staff cited management coercion, dishonesty, slyness, discrimination, bullying, a culture of mediocrity and a boys' club. The Assembly also would be aware that a range of public interest disclosures have been made in regard to the university, both in respect of activities at the university union and at university board level.

I raised questions in the Assembly on 18 June 2003 expressing concern that the PID Act was not effective in providing sufficient protection for people making public interest disclosure. A week back you wrote as Attorney-General advising me that you had asked your department to review the provisions of the act in terms of their effectiveness and to provide a response as soon as possible, but no such response has been forthcoming.

Given the front page story in the paper yesterday, what reassurance can you give the Assembly that, firstly, the act does provide scope for those agencies that have carriage of PID inquiries to pursue their concerns promptly to the highest level and, secondly, those


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