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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 October 2010) . . Page.. 4594 ..

no money has been removed. All the money for the fund remains in the fund, and we have not closed the fund. I think I did need to correct that. But the mortgage relief fund has criteria around how successful applications are to be considered. Each application is assessed against those criteria. If they do meet those criteria, then they will have their applications supported.

But, as I said, I do not think it is fair for anyone in this place to call this relief fund a failure. This is the first time this Assembly and this community have had access to a mortgage relief fund. It is in its very early days. We have said that we will review it, to make sure it is meeting the needs of those people it was designed for. I have not had any feedback from the non-government sector that this fund is not meeting that need, but I am very open to feedback. But I do not think it is fair in the first year or so of operation for those opposite to just stand up and start talking about this scheme as a failure.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe?

MR COE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what was the cost of delivering the mortgage relief scheme?

MS GALLAGHER: In terms of the administration and set-up of the scheme, this is being done in house at Treasury. They are a very lean operation; they do not like to spend any money over and above what is required. To my knowledge, there were not any significant additional expenses from establishing this scheme. I will come back to you if there is more information I can provide.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. What feedback did you receive from either the community or the non-government organisation assisting with the scheme in relation to the criteria relating to the scheme and whether or not that provided a barrier to people who were suffering serious mortgage stress from accessing the scheme?

MS GALLAGHER: The implementation of this initiative was designed in partnership with the non-government sector. I have already undertaken to provide a list of who was involved in those discussions. What was also looked at was similar schemes interstate. But my understanding is that there was agreement around the criteria for the mortgage relief fund amongst the parties who were involved in designing and getting this scheme up and running.

ACT Ambulance Service—recruitment

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the minister for emergency services and relates to staffing at the ACT Ambulance Service. Minister, three of the last four ACT budgets have included funding for additional staff for the Ambulance Service. A total of 41 new positions have been funded. Can you update the Assembly on the success of the recruitment drives used to fill these new positions and how many of the 41 positions were filled?

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