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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 978 ..

We can do better than this—much better. If any other landlord in this territory treated its tenants in this way, those opposite would be the first to name them, shame them and drag them to court. The ACT government should be ashamed for having become what may well be the territory’s shonkiest landlord. I heartily support Mr Parton’s motion today and commend it to the Assembly.

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (3.30): I rise to speak in support of Minister Berry’s amendment to the motion. I thank Mr Parton for his motion and his interest in the wellbeing and safety of tenants residing in Housing ACT properties. It is something that I also have a deep interest in and would suggest that it is the opposite of being callous. Everyone in the ACT has the right to a decent home and the role that Housing ACT plays in providing homes for people in the ACT is one that cannot be overstated.

As outlined in the comments made by Minister Berry, Housing ACT takes its responsibilities as a landlord really seriously and strives to be a model landlord. She outlined the government’s responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act and noted that it is managing more than 11,000 properties and more than 21,000 tenancies. In this, ensuring timely and appropriate maintenance occurs is an important and key part of the job. While I recognise that this is a job that is essentially about managing assets, these are assets that impact on people’s lives. It is important that we recognise that a faulty stove, a leaky roof and other issues significantly impact on people’s lives and wellbeing. This means we need to make sure we get it right.

Recognising the total management contract with Programmed is a major contract for the ACT government, and while significant internal contract management and review occurs, we welcome external review. There was a recent audit undertaken by the Auditor-General that did just that. The audit found that Housing ACT has established a strong and effective governance system over the contract which, as we have heard today, includes some very stringent requirements. This is underpinned by a comprehensive performance management system. Notwithstanding the achievements, the audit has identified some aspects of management that can be improved. These include a continual focus on financial management and the opportunity to improve the already effective governance structure.

The audit identified that significant work had already been done to address these findings. It also made one recommendation, which is to review the role of the senior contract manager, specifically with regard to competing responsibilities and accountabilities that occur when managing a contract of this size and complexity. This recommendation was not made due to a specific instance that the Auditor-General came across; rather, it was made to ensure that the competing priorities do not result in an issue at some further stage. The directorate has commenced and continues to implement a range of ongoing actions that respond positively to the report’s recommendation and findings. The government response to the report will be tabled in the Assembly in coming months.

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