Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 786 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
This raises an interesting point. The Government is moving ahead with the Kingston foreshore development and the Government is also responsible for the good management of the asset that the ACT Housing stock is. It is the property of all of the residents of the ACT. Mr Quinlan is suggesting that, without looking at the future of these houses and their future potential to the residents of the ACT, we should sell them now. If that is the sort of economic benefit that he thinks that the Territory should gain, it clearly shows why none of the Opposition chose to speak yesterday on how we go about addressing the operating debt that the ACT has. Not only is Mr Quinlan seemingly advocating that we flog them, but it is a matter of "Flog them cheap; flog them now". This Government will manage the asset that ACT Housing provides to the Territory in the most responsible manner that we can, and that is to the benefit of all the tenants, but it also accords with the responsibility that we owe all of the ratepayers of the ACT.
I may be wrong and maybe there are concerns amongst the residents of the Causeway. If there are and should they wish to discuss them, they can contact my office. I am told by the department that they have received no such correspondence. It seems at this stage that Mr Quinlan is using residents of ACT Housing premises for his own advantage. What we see here is the Opposition's total inability to understand that good management is a long-term thing. Good management is about being economically responsible and getting the best return for all the residents of the ACT, not just getting out a press release.
The nature of Mr Quinlan's press release is curious. A copy has now come to my office. The press release that he issued yesterday on this issue was actually faxed to someone. I think the time was 12.54 yesterday afternoon. In that press release Mr Quinlan makes reference to questions that he has asked the Minister on housing matters. To the best of my knowledge, question time starts at 2.30 pm, so not only was he beating the drum solo but he was jumping the gun. I think Mr Quinlan should come back to this place and apologise to the residents of the Causeway who I think he is using; and he should apologise to the officers of ACT Housing, because they do a very good job in managing a large proportion of the ACT housing stock. I reiterate one final time that this Government will address economic issues very seriously and we will manage the assets that we have to gain the best return for all ACT residents.
MR RUGENDYKE (6.37): Mr Speaker, I rise simply to support Ms Tucker's comments regarding the Competition Policy Forum. Ms Tucker said it quite eloquently and said it all. For my part, the Competition Policy Forum means that the community have the opportunity to raise their concerns about competition policy with a group that is totally independent of government. The group that effectively put the kybosh on the Belconnen pool is a group within the Chief Minister's Department. This appears to be a completely independent group and that adds scrutiny to the process. I support the work of the Competition Policy Forum, as it should be.