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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3294 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

almost 20 million reduction in passenger boardings in two years. It might pay to think next time, Ms Horodny, before you offer such suggestions. We have got used to Ms Horodny coming out with the first thing that comes into her head. She picked a city somewhere in the world and said, "Why don't we do it like they do it in Toronto?". No, we will not do it like they do it in Toronto because it is not working.

Mr Speaker, the Canberra commuter can look forward to an even better ACTION bus service next year as we finalise the new Network 1997. ACTION's current high level of service, coupled with the Government's budget initiatives, will ensure the long-term quality and effectiveness of ACTION for all people in the ACT. I thank Mr Hird for his question.

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, did I understand the Minister to say that the patronage of the ACTION transport system is up? Is that correct?

MR HUMPHRIES: My advice, Mr Hird, is that that is correct.

Home Purchase Assistance Scheme

MS TUCKER: My question is for Mr Stefaniak as Minister for Housing. New loans under the ACT Housing home purchase assistance scheme were suspended earlier this year pending the outcome of a review. It is my understanding that the scheme enabled many low- to moderate-income earners in the ACT, particularly many single mothers, to escape housing poverty and that a vital feature of the scheme was that it allowed for variation in the rate of loan repayments in accordance with changes in the income of borrowers. It is also my understanding that the default rate on loans was lower in the ACT than in comparable schemes elsewhere. Could the Minister please explain the process of that review to the Assembly? It is my understanding that a consultant spent only a few weeks on it back in June and that his contact with the community sector may have been as little as one interview with ACTCOSS. Can the Minister table the report of the review? I will mention that we gave the Minister some notice of this question.

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question, Mr Speaker. I will take the last part of it first. I am advised that the consultant's report is not yet finished and is still being worked on. I am unable, Ms Horodny, to tell you exactly when that will be given to the Government. It is still not complete. That is the advice I got today.

The ACT Government has undertaken a review of its home lending program. This is an initiative that is consistent with similar reviews either under way or being contemplated by our counterparts in New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland. The need for such a review arises from the fact that our HomeBuyer housing assistance program has not undergone a major re-evaluation of its eligibility criteria or operating basis since its implementation some five years ago. In addition, the prevailing economic and housing market conditions are very different from those prevailing at the time of the launch of HomeBuyer.

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