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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2501 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

driving our planners and people working in this area prematurely grey through the effort of having to deliver those services. I believe that we will have to make sure that resources are made available, either through reorganisation or through improved resources in the future, to meet that goal.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Housing Bureau

Proposed expenditure - Division 160 - Housing, $41,003,600

MS McRAE (1.11 am): This again is a very interesting area because it is so difficult to find out exactly what the Government is up to. Most of the answers in the Estimates Committee related to the fact that everything they do, because it is tied with Commonwealth money, is locked into Commonwealth policies and there are agreements and therefore there is not much anyone can do. The reality is that on the ground now there are some fairly radical changes being made to the management of Housing Trust properties and particularly to the lives of tenants. Ostensibly, it is to make it all more efficient, but one cannot help but feel that there is an undercurrent of direct attack on a lot of these people in a most unfair way, and in time that will build up to a crescendo of discontent. The number of complaints I have heard about drive-by inspections, about inspections from people who have not given appropriate notice, about rude and inappropriate behaviour, about quite unfair demands on tenants, is starting to build up.

We heard very little of this when we tried to examine this portfolio during the estimates process, and it is all under the guise of increased efficiency. The fact that it harasses people and creates very little good intent or goodwill is neither here nor there. The ACT has a very proud record of its management of Housing Trust homes, and the fact that people live there mostly all their lives, and choose to live there proudly, is something that seems to have escaped the current Minister. People are being treated as if they are all like the one or two tenants who have been extremely irresponsible. I was very disheartened by the approach that is being taken. There is a marked shift in attitude towards people who inhabit Housing Trust homes, with a lot of harassment and general punitive measures, as if everyone out there is desperately trying to destroy their Housing Trust home and in some way is not proud of the fact that they are there.

Added to that is what we then found out in the budget, which adds further weight to why we have so much trouble accepting the credibility of this Government and its capacity to put together a budget. Under Outlook in the subprogram Business Management we have this charming line:

develop a regeneration plan for Charnwood;

How absolutely extraordinary! First, you shut the high school; first, you send away all the young people; then you regenerate. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Here we have a government that comes on line after Dunlop has begun. It is now going to regenerate Charnwood, and to what purpose? So that people can catch buses and go to school at Ginninderra, at Melba, at Belconnen or at Canberra High.

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