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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 4 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1318..

MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, what has been the response to these changes amongst the tenants?

MR RATTENBURY: The tenants have been very pleased with these changes. They were really very stressed under the previous arrangements. I received a number of letters. When we spoke to the tenants by telephone, they really were very stressed about the situation which was putting them under significant financial pressures. So they have been very appreciative of the change in policy. I think it is a good outcome for the current tenants but also for the program to be able to help others who find themselves in these circumstances.

I would also note that a number of key stakeholders such as the National Council of Women ACT and ACTCOSS, who recognise the particular stresses that older women, in particular, find themselves in from a financial perspective, have been also very supportive of these changes because they know that women in this demographic group, for want of a better expression, do find themselves facing particular stresses.

We will, of course, be watching now to monitor these changes to ensure they achieve the intended objective and also get the feedback from the tenants. But I can say that so far the feedback from the tenants has been very positive.

MADAM SPEAKER: Dr Bourke, a supplementary question.

DR BOURKE: Minister, will this accommodation for older women encompass facilities like Lady Heydon House in my electorate in Spence?

MR RATTENBURY: It covers a range of accommodation across the city. I cannot remember the specific addresses, Dr Bourke, but it applies to the range of properties that Housing has in this category, where there is a dedicated number of properties that have been allocated for this scheme. I am happy to provide you—obviously, within the bounds of privacy—with some feedback on those locations.

Ms Gallagher: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Health—poisonous mushrooms

MS GALLAGHER: Yesterday, in response to a question from Mr Wall around mushrooms, I said I would follow up what had been done specifically with food businesses.

The Health Protection Service wrote to all food businesses following two deaths in January 2012. The letter strongly recommended that people did not pick, prepare or eat wild mushrooms, no matter where they were growing. On 2 May 2014, the Health Protection Service wrote a further letter, advising that food businesses were not to pick wild mushrooms for use in their food products. In May 2014, HPS wrote to key industry players, who have cooperated in distributing the message not to pick wild mushrooms.

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