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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4697 ..

Kick Start Program

MS REILLY: My question is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Housing. Minister, the Kick Start program was announced in the 1996-97 budget with statements claiming that many jobs would flow from this initiative and that 500 public housing tenants would have the opportunity to purchase their own homes. People are now raising concerns about the slow take-up rate of the Kick Start program. Minister, can you confirm that the Government is intending to extend the Kick Start program to other low-income earners not currently in public housing? Will you give a guarantee that other financial organisations besides St George and Advance, which were originally given the Kick Start deposit gap program, will be given the opportunity to participate in an open tender process for this loans program before any consideration is given to such an extension of eligibility of the Kick Start program?

MR STEFANIAK: Ms Reilly asks another question about Kick Start, which is a scheme which, as I have said on a number of occasions, as the Chief Minister has said on a number of occasions, and as other members on this side of the house have said on a number of occasions, gives the opportunity for people who would not otherwise own their home to do so. In terms of what is going to happen further in relation to the scheme, Ms Reilly, I would ask you to sit tight. I hope that the Government will be in a position very shortly to make some announcements. As you know, the scheme was to be reviewed.

You may try to pooh-pooh this scheme and say that it is some sort of dreadful thing, but what can be dreadful about giving people who are low- to medium-income earners the opportunity to own their own home?

Mr De Domenico: I cannot imagine.

MR STEFANIAK: I really cannot either. Ms Reilly, I indicated a little bit earlier the initial applications that have been received. I understand that, since that last bit of information I gave you, a number of further applications have in fact been made and some of those have been granted. Ms Reilly, it is a scheme which has already enabled a number of people who would not otherwise have a chance to own their home to do so. I think that really is the most important point. People who otherwise would be in rental accommodation all their lives now have an opportunity to own their own home. I really am amazed that you constantly and continually try to knock this scheme.

MS REILLY: I ask a supplementary question. I thought my question actually asked for information. I did not knock the scheme at all.

MR SPEAKER: Ask your supplementary question, with no preamble.

MS REILLY: I am sorry, Mr Speaker. Minister, why was all reference to the Kick Start program removed from the last ACT Housing tenants newsletter?

MR STEFANIAK: Perhaps you had better tell me what newsletter, Ms Reilly, and I will go and check that out. Which edition? I was not actually aware of that. I understand that, in fact, there has been information - - -

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