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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (26 May) . . Page.. 568 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

To respond to the second part of Mr Hargreaves's question, all applicants for public housing undergo an assessment as to their eligibility. This is done through the Applicant Services Centre. Applicants must meet basic eligibility criteria concerning income and asset limits and residency. Where applicants present with particular difficulties, including physical disabilities, an assessment of the need for the priority allocation of a public rental property can also be made. This usually includes an assessment as to whether a suitable property to meet the person's or the family's needs may be available in the private rental market.

ACT Housing has been provided with a budget of $300,000 to modify government dwellings for clients with special needs. With such limited funds, it is necessary to seek the assistance of the Rehabilitation Unit in prioritising major requests for modifications. The recommendations of the Rehabilitation Unit may involve clients on ACT Housing's applicants list or tenants whose special needs have arisen since they occupied their government property. As a first step, ACT Housing inspects the property to ensure that it is suitable for modification. If the property is assessed as being unsuitable to be modified, ACT Housing will find one that is suitable and, if applicable, will transfer the tenant when modifications are complete. If a client's special needs are exceptional and cannot be met through modifying an existing property, ACT Housing will consider building a house for them and incorporating the modifications in the design.

Statement by Speaker

MR SPEAKER: Members may recall that at the last sitting of the Assembly Mr Corbell, by leave, asked me to examine the Chief Minister's response to a supplementary question he had asked during questions without notice. I was specifically asked to review the Hansard and look at it in terms of standing order 117(h), which provides:

A question fully answered cannot be renewed.

Mr Humphries also addressed comments to me on the matter, and I undertook to examine the Hansard. The supplementary question that was the subject of the request related to the proposed Kinlyside land development at Hall and asked a series of specific queries of the Chief Minister.

I have examined extracts from the proof Hansard for the period 19 to 21 May and have to advise that the specific issues raised in Mr Corbell's supplementary question were not the subject of a question in the Assembly over the period. Over the period, however, there were 11 questions relating to the proposed rural residential development, together with the same number of supplementary questions. In other words, we had some 22 questions over that period.

I have concluded, therefore, that the supplementary question asked by Mr Corbell did not infringe the provisions of standing order 117(h), in that he did not repeat a question or renew a question that had already been asked. However, here the remarks of Mr Humphries are relevant. Ministers may refuse or decline to answer a question.

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