Page 3799 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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MS BERRY: I provide responses to Mr Parton so that he can ensure that his constituents feel that they are being represented by him. Our maintenance program continues, and we do ensure that public housing tenants are getting the support that they need in our public housing properties. We will continue to do that.

Housing ACT—complaints

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services. We continue to receive feedback from constituents unable to reach an officer within Housing ACT for days and sometimes weeks on end, including when they are using complaints line. Minister, are you able to confirm the policy for answering phones—the expected wait times and times for returning voicemails, even if that has to be done on notice.

MS VASSAROTTI: I thank the member for the question. In terms of the specifics of a policy on times for returning phone calls, I will take that on notice in terms of the particular performance standards that have been put in place. Certainly the work of the gateway is a way that we are really trying to provide great service for our public housing tenancy. There is a lot of contact that comes from 11,500 tenancies, and more than 22,000 individuals that are in households.

The team works very hard to respond to all issues as they come up. If people are having challenges, we encourage them to let my office know, and we can identify any particular issues that are happening. Certainly the aim is to provide a really responsive service. Sometimes there is a need to get some information, and that sometimes takes time to get back to people, but I will take the detail of the question on notice.

MR PARTON: How many Housing ACT staff are still regularly working remotely, and not answering the main phone lines?

MS VASSAROTTI: I thank the member for the question. Again, I will need to take that question on notice. There are a range of circumstances where people are able to negotiate flexible work arrangements. That is something that has occurred across the ACT public service. Certainly Housing ACT staff are in place, but when we put in place flexible work arrangements, including working remotely, we did ensure that systems are in place to enable people to do their core roles.

Contact with our tenants and prospective tenants is a really important element of that. We continue to maintain the shopfront in Belconnen. We were able to maintain the service throughout some of the most difficult times of COVID—that continues—and put in a range of requirements for the workplace. I will see what information I can get in terms of the specifics of remote working if we have that information.

MS LAWDER: Minister, when will you start treating Housing ACT residents with the respect they deserve, including allocating enough staff to answer the phone complaints line?

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