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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2021) . . Page.. 1944 ..

which have problems with mice, rats and/or maggots, for this financial year, 539 pest and vermin control activities have been undertaken. Tenants are only eligible for these activities within the first three months of a new tenancy or if an infestation becomes horrific. Based on those numbers, up to one in 20 public housing properties have pest and vermin infestations. There are many regular reports of rats, mice and/or maggots which have not been dealt with and are getting into neighbouring properties. Minister, why do infestations continue, given their risk to the health and safety of public housing tenants?

MS BERRY: I recall that answer that I provided to you, Mr Parton. What you are referring to is the number of jobs that were required, not the actual number of particular pests or vermin in public housing properties in the ACT. Public housing properties in the ACT, like every other house in the ACT, are experiencing a greater number, it appears, of rats and mice visiting. Nobody wants them; they are unwanted visitors, and they need to be addressed by all of us.

In public housing, Housing ACT takes those concerns very seriously. Where supports are needed to alleviate those issues within public housing properties then they are met. But you are reading the answer to the question incorrectly. It is the job numbers, not the identification of the particular pests, vermin or other issues that were addressed in those properties.

MR PARTON: Minister, given that some of these problems have been ongoing for years, what steps occur after a pest control visit occurs, and what precisely is the follow-up?

MS BERRY: I will have to take the detail of that question on notice and provide a general response on what happens—unless Mr Parton has a specific matter that he wants to refer to my office; I can follow that up as well. It would be in the householder’s interest, if there were issues still occurring in the space after a period of time, to then get back in contact with Housing ACT to ensure that the matter is resolved. In the first instance, I will try and get some general information about what occurs, but if Mr Parton has a particular issue that he wants me to follow up, he can get in touch with my office.

MS LEE: Minister, what steps will you take to fix these ongoing problems, given that tenants have reported these problems for years?

MS BERRY: As I said I will provide some general advice to the Assembly about what occurs in those circumstances, generally, as far as the management of those kinds of issues in public housing properties. If Ms Lee has a particular circumstance that she wants to raise with my office, then I can definitely get that addressed for her.


MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. There are around 400 public housing properties sitting empty. Since the February 2021 update of 191 rough sleepers, what is the current number of Canberrans who are homeless and sleeping rough?

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