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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3369..


MR SPEAKER: It is open to ministers to answer questions in relation to their own portfolios. Mr Wood's portfolio deals with housing and ministers are able to pass questions on to other ministers.

MR WOOD: Again, it is a question of maintenance. Mrs Burke had something to say a little while ago about leaky taps. I would dispute the figures she quoted. I do not know the veracity or the reliability of that source. But it is an issue; there is no question about that. Leaky taps are something that not everybody can fix themselves. If there is a big problem, more than just a tap that is leaking, it is fixed within four hours. If a tap cannot be turned off or is flowing fairly freely, it is fixed immediately. Beyond that, if there is a leaking tap, it is attended to. I would like to get from you details of specific cases where you think that that has not happened. They are attended to. Tenants are asked to indicate the extent of the problem.

Mrs Burke: They have given up, Minister. They are not getting answered and they are giving up. What do they do?

MR WOOD: You make such statements. I would not mind sometimes a specific example that I can respond to. The advice I have is that leaking taps are not fixed immediately, but they are fixed within an established timeframe-similarly for other matters. The system is fairly well organised and fairly precise in the way it sets out how things are to be done and I believe that they are responded to in proper measure.

Cardboard coffins

MS TUCKER: My question is also for Mr Wood, a very busy man. I will try to speak up.

Mr Quinlan: Is it another deep and meaningful one?

MS TUCKER: No, actually. This question is in relation to funerals. I have been working with a particular constituent who was interested in sorting out her burial in advance. She was interested in using a coffin that was less expensive and more ecologically sensitive. It has been an interesting series of queries that she has gone through.

Crematoria authorities have given this person varying advice. One manager said that all coffins must meet an Australian standard. However, Standards Australia has said that there was nothing covering this topic in the standards. The manufacturer of Eco-Coffins has explained to my constituent that, despite health authorities okaying their use, most funeral companies were refusing to use them for their own reasons. Yet, consumers have a very strong interest in purchasing this rigid recycled cardboard coffin, which costs about $360, compared to the thousands that a wooden coffin costs.

What is the situation in the ACT and are you aware of this issue?

MR WOOD: It is a fascinating issue and it is one that is very alive. The constituent who has approached you is probably the same person who has approached my office; so I am aware of the issue. The answer I provided is that, in the ACT, no, you cannot have a cardboard coffin.


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