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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (23 May) . . Page.. 1687 ..

Community Housing Program

MS REILLY: My question is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Housing and Family Services. Minister, it is now nearly the end of May, and we are nearly at the end of the 1995-96 financial year; yet the 1995-96 community housing program has still not been announced, even though community organisations have presented their submissions to you and, I understand, you have accepted them and passed them on. Can you tell us when there will be an announcement of the 1995-96 community housing program?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I would think that would occur very shortly. I cannot give Ms Reilly an exact date, but I have received some submissions recently. They have been passed on and processed.

Ms Follett: Before next year?

MR STEFANIAK: I certainly do not think it will be next year. It is in train and I would expect to make an announcement shortly.

MS REILLY: I ask a supplementary question. Considering the fact that it is only six weeks to the end of the financial year, can the organisations that have put in submissions and asked for purchase have an understanding that this money will be carried onto next year if there is not time to spend it this year?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I will certainly look into that. There have been a number of recent seminars on the community housing program. A number of suggestions have been made. I attended one seminar several months ago. As I said, the results have gone through me to Housing. I do not really know what Ms Reilly is worried about. The concerns and the points raised by people in relation to community housing have been taken into account by ACT Housing.

Tree Removal - Ainslie

MS HORODNY: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr De Domenico. I gave him notice of this question. I was recently told that an officer from City Parks visited shopkeepers in the Ainslie shopping centre and informed them that the trees on the footpath along the edge of the shopping centre in Wakefield Gardens were to be removed because some of them were diseased and would be replaced by ornamental plum trees which match the heritage streetscape of the Wakefield Gardens precinct. There are currently three ornamental plums on that footpath, but there is also what I understand is a very healthy peppermint gum which is about three to four metres high. The local shopkeepers, shoppers and residents are very concerned that this gum tree is to be cut down for no good reason but merely to maintain the conformity of the streetscape, which City Parks believes should be of plum trees. In fact, there is a petition hanging on the tree with many hundreds of signatures on it by now. Could the Minister say whether this gum tree is to be cut down and, if so, why?

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