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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 June 2011) . . Page.. 2077 ..

how will we deal with the increasing homelessness population? For one, the government does not move away from our commitment that we have made with you around increasing public housing in terms of an aspirational target. We remain very focused on that. I think there is discussion about how we do that, how we finance that, when we reach that or how we keep the progress going against that.

I think at the same time, though, that while we are dealing with some social housing reform and investment in public housing and rejuvenation of public housing, we also need to keep focusing on our homelessness service response and innovative ways of dealing with that particular part of the housing and accommodation sector. I think the transitional housing model that we have put in place a few years ago is working well and there are further opportunities to expand that. But I think, again, genuine partnership is required with the non-government sector and the government in looking at innovative ways of supporting the homelessness community.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, is it more or less expensive, in terms of the whole of government, to provide public housing or assist people through homelessness services and extra costs such as mental health services?

MS GALLAGHER: I think that is a pretty difficult question to answer. I am happy to look at whether we can put a financial figure on a question that is basically very difficult to measure. I am not sure how you would do it.

I think there is acknowledgement that we have to work on new services. I think the common ground feasibility that we have funded in this year’s budget is part of the answer. We have to rejuvenate our public housing stock and increase the options available to people who come through the public housing system. And there are new and better ways to deal with our social housing and community housing providers.

When you look at our record over the past 12 months, you will see that enormous effort is going into this. That does not mean that we are going to have all the answers and all the solutions, but I think there is a genuine willingness to look at how we can improve our social housing sector and there is also an understanding about how that has other flow-on effects to other government agencies.

We are doing some work, Ms Bresnan, at your request, around how we quantify mental health service response across government. That has been a really informative piece of work—to look at, particularly, areas like housing that are having specific projects focusing on supporting people with mental health issues.

I am not entirely sure that I can answer your question. I will have a look at it when I see the Hansard to see whether there is some way of putting a cost on or whether we have a cost available to provide you with.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

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