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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 4590..


MS GALLAGHER: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. My comments around the mortgage relief fund were in the context of the mortgage relief fund being a safety net scheme—and that is that you cannot measure the success of a safety net scheme from the uptake. You actually do not want to see large numbers of people needing a mortgage relief fund because that means large numbers of people are experiencing housing stress to the point that they may lose ownership of their house. This scheme was set up to provide assistance to people, if they needed that further help. The number of contacts on the website indicates that—

Mr Smyth: What a feeble defence.

MS GALLAGHER: I do not know what is so funny about that to you, but the number of hits on the website indicates that people are aware of this scheme. They will then look at their eligibility for that. A number of them have contacted the ACT Revenue Office following those inquiries and have sought further assistance and advice around other measures, if they are not eligible for the mortgage relief fund—other advice around their own personal finances. I have to say that I have not had any concerns raised with me by the non-government agencies who were involved in establishing this mortgage relief fund with us around this scheme but, as I said at the time, we are reviewing the operations of this scheme, to make sure that it is providing the support that is needed in the community. But I would actually think that members in this place would be pleased that there had not been a large uptake of the mortgage relief fund.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Treasurer, which non-government organisations were given responsibility for implementing the policy as announced in 2008 and what assistance have they provided?

MS GALLAGHER: I cannot give you a list of all the people we spoke to but I think from memory the primary organisation was Care Financial Counselling Services in seeking advice around similar schemes that operated. The intention was originally to have this operated by the non-government sector. I think, through discussions with the non-government sector, in the implementation of this commitment there was agreement that in the initial stages the mortgage relief fund should stay within government and I have to say that I have not had any concerns raised with me around that decision either.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, how much did it cost the government for the ANU to prepare the report commissioned after the policy was announced?

MS GALLAGHER: I do not have that level of detail with me but I am happy to provide that to the member.


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