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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (10 March) . . Page.. 517 ..

Minister for Urban Services - Planning

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Given that the Chief Minister, her Cabinet and backbench this morning voted for an amendment that expressed grave concern about the actions of the Urban Services Minister relating to the so-called independent rural residential study, can she tell the Assembly how she proposes to ensure that Mr Smyth undertakes his duties responsibly in the future? Will she remove any duties from the Minister to ensure that his workload does not reduce his capacity to apply himself rigorously to his responsibilities to this Assembly? Does the Chief Minister still have confidence in Mr Smyth as planning Minister now that she has expressed grave concern about his actions?

MS CARNELL: I have every confidence in the Minister. No is the middle answer, that I would not take any functions away from the Minister. Boy, some people hate losing, don't they, Mr Speaker?

MR CORBELL: My supplementary, Mr Speaker, is this: When will the Chief Minister accept that Ministers have to lift their behaviour and performance to standards required by this Assembly so that she does not have to keep voting on matters of grave concern?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I do not think that is an actual area, but I can say that maybe it would help the Government if the Opposition was a bit better.

Public Housing Tenants - Water Bills

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Smyth, and I am not on this occasion expressing grave concern. Minister, you have just indicated the negatives of the Productivity Commission report, as well as the positives. You noted that tenant satisfaction levels were lower than for the States. There is one step that I want to draw your attention to, if you have not already been apprised of it, that you can take to remove a gripe from tenants and to help raise that satisfaction level. Recently tenants have received their water bills, but there is a problem with them. They have no detail to indicate how much water has been used. They have to take the account on trust. When I get a bill for water it is properly inclusive of meter readings. Theirs are not. I do not know whether you have been aware of this, but will you look into the issue and come back and advise the Assembly when tenants will be provided with that quite necessary information?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I was not aware of that issue and I thank Mr Wood for bringing it to my attention. It would certainly be a concern that tenants are not being told how much water they have used and therefore how much they are charged. Certainly, I will investigate the report as quickly as I can.

Ms Carnell: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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