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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2262..


MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, how can we trust your new commitment to accountability when you are not accountable to constituents who contact your office?

MS GALLAGHER: I am accountable to those constituents.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, why do constituents have to contact talkback radio to put their case forward to receive any attention from you?

MS GALLAGHER: They do not have to. That is a choice that individuals make. There are a range of avenues through which constituents engage with their members and with the broader community. I think that is a fantastic part of the place in which we live and call home.

In relation to whether I can solve everybody's problem or get their surgery on a particular day, if you are asking me, a politician, to fiddle with the waiting list, then no, I cannot do that. But I can do a range of other things, and all of those areas where I can influence an outcome for someone are being done. We are seeing improvement, we will see continued improvement and we will see people get access to their surgery on time in greater numbers than have been delivered in the past.

Housing—affordability

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development and is about the affordable housing action plan. The Auditor-General's report of February this year found that a number of affordable properties to be provided under the OwnPlace scheme were not being released to the market in a timely manner because they were being held up by developers and builders. Minister, what steps has the government taken to ensure that these properties under the OwnPlace scheme are provided in a timely manner and that developers do not take too long to release them?

MR BARR: I understand that the government response to the Auditor-General's report is forthcoming and will be able to be provided very shortly. So I will not, obviously, pre-empt all of that in my answer now.

Suffice to say that, yes, we are aware of some of those concerns. I have looked at the detail of this program in recent times and it would appear that there was some misunderstanding certainly in interpretation of the OwnPlace program in relation to the Auditor-General's report and that there have been some concerns raised that it would appear are not entirely justified. However, I am aware that there are, I believe, about 50 properties that have been delayed and we are seeking to ensure that those are made available more quickly.


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