Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3062 ..
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (5.26): I have been the shadow minister for housing for a number of years, and it is a great privilege to undertake that job. Much of the important work that I have done in this space to date has been around pressuring the minister to fulfil basic maintenance requests in a timely manner. Additionally, we have moved motions in this place calling upon the government to lift its game in the maintenance space, and we have tabled petitions signed by hundreds of Canberrans looking for a similar outcome.
On most occasions the Labor-Greens government have assured us that there is no problem and asked us to look away. But I was most pleased when the government finally admitted failure in this space by allocating an additional $80 million over three years in this week’s budget to go towards housing maintenance. We celebrated that. We live in the hope that things may change. Given the minister’s pathetic response to my supplementary question in the chamber today on housing maintenance, perhaps the celebrations were a little too early.
This issue that I want to bring to the attention of all of my friends here in the chamber this afternoon also leads me to believe that we have a long way to go. I was urgently contacted earlier in the month by a tenant living in Richardson who has had no hot water for two weeks. To get to this point in the home, I have been advised of the following information. The tenant was walking through their home two weeks ago and noticed an area of the floor was feeling quite hot. At the same time they noticed a hissing noise coming from under the floor in what could only be through the pipes. The hot water started intermittently not working.
The tenant called the program to raise a work order. A contractor came out to inspect and advised that the hot-water pipes were leaking and someone would come back. They did not. A few days later, the tenant advised that the hot water was not working at all, and that water had started flooding into three rooms of the house, causing wet carpet and water pooling behind the fridge, and the area of the floor that was previously hot was becoming hotter. They called again. Another contractor came out, stated that the hot-water heater needed repairing or replacing and that someone would be back on Wednesday, 6 October to do this. Once again, no-one came. For this family it is now going on for two weeks with no hot water.
We have, of course, alerted the minister to this. I think it is a highly disgraceful situation. No-one should have to go for more than half a day without access to hot water in their home. They are boiling the kettle to warm up water to bathe their young child. There are now holes in the walls caused by the contractor, a growing amount of water pooling in the home, wet carpet, and the flooring continues to be hot.
According to the tenancy agreement, this falls into the urgent repair category, to be fixed within four hours. Again, we note that in the budget released this week there was $80 million for repairs and maintenance, so surely tenants should not be kept waiting. Even prior to that announcement, there is no way that a tenant should have