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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2503 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

Too bad if you have particular bills one week and if your children need shoes, or if you overrun your food budget; we are going to get into your bank account first and take your money".

Mr Berry: And 200 minutes of sport every week.

Mr Stefaniak: No; 150 minutes, and 30 minutes of health, Wayne. Get it right.

MS McRAE: They say, "On top of that, you are going to feel much better because there is 150 minutes of sport. Too bad if you do not have any shoes, too bad if you do not have enough money for food; but your rent will be paid on time, we will have your bond, you will have a clean bathroom and, what is more, we will regenerate your suburb after we have closed your high school". What a fantastic record!

Mr Berry: Fingernail inspection to come.

MS McRAE: And drive-bys, just to keep you busy. What an outrageous government, what an outrageous management of this budget. And all hiding under the statement, "We do not have too much room to move with this because we are tied into public funds from the Commonwealth". God help us! Heaven help us! What on earth are they going to do if ever they do negotiate a new agreement with the Commonwealth? Look out Housing Trust tenants! You have been pretty poorly managed thus far. If the Commonwealth ever does move out of the controls it has placed, all I can say to all the unfortunate people who happen to be in the clutches of this Government whilst in their government houses is: Look out!

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Housing and Family Services) (1.20 am): From what I can gather, Ms McRae, complaints seem to be down quite a bit. I think Mr Speaker could probably vouch for that because he takes a very particular and keen interest in looking after the interests of Housing Trust tenants and matters relating to the Housing Trust. He is nodding away up there, which is good to see. You talk about this heartless and cruel Government. I remember signing off a number of answers to questions on notice in relation to evictions and, comparing what they were last year with what they are this year so far, the numbers are very similar.

We have a different attitude, Ms McRae. I will give some credit. Your previous Minister did start a reasonable sort of process, which we are developing, and that was a housing review. We have a very basic and sensible approach in terms of housing, and that is that people have responsibilities and they have rights, whether they are public tenants or anything else. That, I think, is fundamental to living in a civilised community. I think the vast majority of people in our system very much appreciate that.

Mr De Domenico: Lamont was not a bad Minister. He was a good Minister, in fact, because he did things.

MR STEFANIAK: Yes, he was not too bad. As to your crazy assertions of taking from the poor and all that, what we are doing is ensuring that we provide a very good service to our clients. Instead of having to wait hours, or even days, to get service, now they can go into, for example, the Belconnen office, where the pilot is being progressed.

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