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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 May 2007) . . Page.. 885 ..

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put.



DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.00): I mentioned yesterday that we have had a number of letters from housing tenants who are really concerned about housing policy. I want to read a letter that I received today. It reads:

I am a housing tenant and I am really anxious about this new housing policy—all the more so as ACT Housing don’t seem to have much detail either. When I rang the Department last week, the lady I spoke to told me they’ve had many in tears on the phone. Moreover, they are wanting them to push some shared equity scheme on people. (Personally I would prefer the old Housing Trust scheme—axed by Carnell, I think.).

I am concerned that there is a fixed line in the sand—80K—irrespective of the number of dependants. This is not equitable and does not take into account differing “income units”.

I am concerned that, while they are going all “softly softly” and reckon they will just be “encouraging” people to “see sense” and addressing the issues “on a case by case basis”, who’s to say the next mob won’t enforce the letter of the law?

Can they really implement this retrospectively? Do tenants have any contractual rights in this at all? Even the Libs, when they tried to ditch security of tenure, didn’t bring it in retrospectively!

I am also really upset that they give people a box with no curtains or light bulbs, have quite harsh rules about children sharing bedrooms etc (is this community standard? no, but it’s OK for “poor” people, clearly) then sit back and watch people do up their house and garden, only to reclaim the property when the kids grow up by making you move to a smaller place—probably flogging it off for a motza. Hm, Ms Foskey, this sounds very familiar.

I should add that this policy review could have been really productive and positive—they could have reviewed the way they assess income, for instance. They really should be assessing on disposable income, not gross. Someone like me (APS 4) with one income, three kids and a HECS debt, does not have a lot left over after paying full rent. I get money from the Feds because I am on a “low income” and I have to pay full rent to ACT Housing because they think I am on a high income. What the?

I apologise if this email is less than coherent. I am really really angry/worried about this, and feel completely disempowered. The way I see it, this local govt is gunning for people like me—someone who has children in the public school system, uses libraries and buses, drinks pristine Canberra tap water, and NOW (the final straw) passes this mean Housing policy. I am gutted. Clearly, when you get your life together after finally having some kind of stable housing situation,

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