Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 403..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
I have no reason to believe that he will not put in place a process which will allow a consideration of the issues and implications for state and territory jurisdictions of the current planning or administrative regime, or legal regime, that applies to airports throughout Australia.
MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Foskey?
DR FOSKEY: Could the Chief Minister please detail dialogue that he has had with the current minister for transport and the minister for territories about these issues?
MR STANHOPE: I would be more than happy to review correspondence that I have entered into with the commonwealth—with the new government—in the last 100 days in relation to issues of concern to the ACT government which we would like to see pursued or addressed. I must say that I would wish to check my correspondence before providing detail, but I can reiterate that I have raised the issue on behalf of the ACT and all other jurisdictions. It was I who raised it at the last treasurers conference with the current Treasurer, Wayne Swan, and I received a positive response to that dialogue.
MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to Mr Hargreaves in his capacity as Minister for Housing. Minister, what changes have been made to allocate housing to those in the greatest need?
MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms MacDonald for her question. As Minister for Housing, I have been committed to improving housing services and implementing reforms aimed at providing more targeted and responsive public assistance to those Canberrans most in need. This government has sought to ensure that the finite resource of public housing is allocated appropriately and quickly. Given the current demand on social housing, the traditional ways of assessing housing need and providing services must be continually evaluated and improved to assist those in greatest need.
To this end, the government commenced a new public rental housing assistance program, PRHAP, from 1 October 2006. This revised program included a reduction in the qualifying income criteria, a tightening of the ACT residency requirements and a complete overhaul of the priority allocation system, moving to a needs-based allocation system which recognises and prioritises complex and multiple needs.
These changes in service delivery have streamlined our approach and improved our responsiveness to the needs of our clients. They have also integrated public housing into the wider human services system. Reforms to the public housing allocation system have resulted in significantly reduced waiting times for those in greatest need. The public housing waiting list now accurately reflects the number of people who need public housing. As at 3 March 2008, there were 1,340 applicants on the housing waiting list. This figure compares with the 2,418 in June 2006, prior to the implementation of these reforms.