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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 803 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

In terms of things that the Ombudsman might find in her investigations, I should point out that I do meet with the Ombudsman and discuss with her and her officers, on a continuing basis, the way in which they deal with complaints against the Australian Federal Police.

Mr Moore: They do not have the powers of a royal commission, though, do they?

MR HUMPHRIES: It is not a question of powers. You do not need powers to pick up what is going wrong, with respect, Mr Moore; you do not need to be a royal commissioner to know that something is wrong.

Mr Moore: That is not how it worked in New South Wales. It took an Independent member to get a royal commission.

MR HUMPHRIES: Plenty of people in New South Wales knew before the royal commission started that things were wrong in New South Wales. I do not get the same signals about the Australian Federal Police in the ACT; nothing like it. If I get those signals, whether they are formal signals or informal signals, I will respond to them.

Housing Trust Properties - Asbestos Removal

MR WOOD: My question is directed to Mr Stefaniak, the Minister for Housing and Family Services. Can you advise whether the Housing Trust has recently undertaken renovation work in Scullin - work which involved the removal of asbestos sheeting from the wet areas of the house? Will you further indicate whether the tenants were informed, at any time and especially during the removal, of the presence of asbestos in their house? Can you inform the Assembly whether the removal of the asbestos was carried out in accordance with the specified guidelines? Finally, in what manner and at what location was the asbestos disposed of?

MR STEFANIAK: The Housing Trust, as I think I said yesterday, has about 12.8 per cent of all the properties in the ACT, including quite a few in Scullin. It does have a regular maintenance program, and as the stock is quite old there is considerable call for that. If Mr Wood can give me details of the particular house or houses, I will investigate those points that he raised and get back to him on that.

MR WOOD: Yes, I will certainly do that. Does Mr Stefaniak have a concern that all the requirements should be followed, bearing in mind the questions that we asked earlier when asbestos was removed in a way that was not approved? Do you have a concern to protect the welfare of the residents?

MR STEFANIAK: Of course I have a concern, not only for the people living there but also for the workmen themselves.

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