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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4399..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

I look forward to continuing the work in this area, which is of significant interest to me and to the Assembly. I thank members for their support. I will continue to work here for the indigenous community to seek to implement initiatives or programs, with the agreement of the community. The emphasis will have to be on improving indigenous student outcomes in all areas of their learning and educational life. Thank you.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Public housing asset management strategy 2003-2008

Debate resumed from 26 August 2003, on motion by Mr Wood

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MRS BURKE (12.00): I thank Minister Wood for presenting the paper Public housing asset management strategy 2003-2008. There are some points I would like to raise with the minister. This is a very comprehensive report. In some areas it seeks to contradict itself and could be a little bit clearer in some of the areas. I will pass through that in a moment. In his tabling speech, the minister said:

This commitment to public housing was reflected in our election promise to maintain public housing stock numbers and implement measures to make public housing more responsive to the needs of its tenants and the community.

I wholeheartedly agree; that is the endeavour of any government. But the statement needs some scrutiny. Notwithstanding the bushfires and the loss of some 80 properties, we must have some concerns also about the loss recently of over 200 apartments at Currong. There is still a concern in my mind, and in that of the broader community, in regard to housing. There is no rebuilding on the former Burnie Court site, and we need to question the housing stock numbers in that regard.

I know that the minister and this government will leap to their feet in righteous indignation, crying "What about the Liberals? What did you do?"Well, Mr Speaker, I think it is time that we started to focus on the issue in this house today. The government has now been in government for two years, and I think that is long enough for any government to stop blaming former governments and to get on with the job. We were answerable when we were in government; this government and this minister are answerable now. I quote again the statement from before:

... measures to make public housing more responsive to the needs of its tenants and the community.

I believe we still live in a day and age when we are process driven, not people focused. That concerns me greatly, and it is an area I am working extremely hard on. I do not dispute that the minister is faced with some difficult decisions, and we have talked about that together in regard to public housing in the territory. I believe that he must first make the decisions and then not resile from them.


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