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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 April 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1346 ..


The current level of service delivery to tenants of Housing ACT.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (3.45): Mr Speaker, the matter of public importance we are discussing today is the current level of service delivery to tenants of ACT Housing. The hallmark of any government is the way in which it serves its constituency in terms of policy formulation, program development and, ultimately, delivering services to that community.

Service delivery is the key outcome for many people, whether it be the collection of payments, the issuing of licences, the consideration of applications for building developments or, in the context of this matter today, the delivery of appropriate services to a particular group in our community, public housing tenants, and putting a roof over their head.

Mr Speaker, one aspect of a government’s performance that is always on notice and that impacts on the quality of life for many of the government’s constituents is its service delivery. We in the opposition have made many comments over the past three years or so about the declining levels of service across parts of the ACT government. A particular focus for these comments is health. I will return to that issue in conjunction with housing in a moment.

Right at the outset, however, it is essential that we acknowledge the dedicated and untiring efforts of the many committed staff in the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services who are continuing to deliver the best levels of service possible to their client group, given the situation in which they operate. I especially want to acknowledge those staff holding less senior positions who provide the services on the ground and who seek to provide an appropriate level of service in an environment in which sometimes their high level of commitment may not be supported by more senior members of the department or the government.

Mr Speaker, despite the commitment of the staff in the department, it appears that there has been an inexorable decline in the overall level of service being provided through Housing ACT. What have we seen over recent times? What has been the experience of our community as clients of Housing ACT? We have seen an ever increasing number of applicants on the housing waiting list and the transfer list. We have seen an exponential increase in the number of complaints reported about disruptions to the quiet residential enjoyment sought by all people.

We have seen public housing tenants being treated like second-class citizens. We have seen the disgraceful record concerning response to maintenance issues with Housing ACT properties and we have seen a constant flow of contact, either by phone or letter, by people living in public housing who are frustrated that the minister is not responding to their requirements and demands and the requirements and demands of his portfolio.

This government has responsibility for around 11,000 public housing tenancies. As landlord for all these people, the government has an obligation, as well as presumably having some sense of what is reasonable in any community in Australia, to ensure that reasonable standards of behaviour are observed by these tenants. The tenants of public


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