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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1074..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

keep them from entering a life of crime. He has a partner and young daughter, and he is highly involved with Menslink in the ACT.

Minister, this same constituent has been applying for ACT housing for over six months, with the only likely options being Northbourne flats or Fraser Court. With increasing crime and drug concerns at these ACT housing complexes, how does the department deal with individuals like my constituent who are genuinely trying to make a go of their lives? And is the minister committed to helping people who want to help themselves?

Mr Stanhope: Are you suggesting other residents aren't making a go of their lives?

MRS BURKE: I am glad you find it funny, Chief Minister.

Mr Stanhope: I don't find it funny; I find it insulting-that people who live in Northbourne flats aren't making a go of their lives!

MRS BURKE: Get real!

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Wood has the call.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I am pleased to hear good news about someone who is turning his life around. We would wish anybody who goes astray a little to take the same path. But I take issue with the comment about increasing crime in certain places. That is just a throwaway line, which is unsubstantiated and incapable of being substantiated.

I do not give the Liberals any credibility in housing matters. They ran the system down. We inherited-well, we did not accept-their program of reducing housing stock progressively to something like 8 per cent of housing. We did not accept that. We have taken on the harder task-

Mr Smyth: What are you knocking down? What are you shutting down? So no closures?

Mrs Dunne: What about Burnie Court?

MR WOOD: I know that you are sensitive about it, but it is a fact of life. Mr Smyth was housing minister. I do not know whether it was Mr Smyth, Mr Stefaniak, Mr Moore or someone else who made some of these decisions, but I have taken the harder road of trying to maintain the level of public housing. I recall that somewhere in my files there is a quote attributed to Mr Smyth-

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, on a point of order, standing order 118 (a) says that the answer should be concise and confined to the subject, and the subject was providing housing for people who were coming out of prison, and 118 (b) is that we should not debate the subject. What the minister of the previous government did is not relevant.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, resume your seat. Let's deal with the issue of "concise"first. This Assembly decided that five minutes is concise. There is a five-minute time limit on questions and I am tied to that. As far as responding to the subject matter goes, I think the minister is doing that, and I would ask him not to stray from the subject.

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