Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 557 ..
CHIEF MINISTER'S PORTFOLIO - STANDING COMMITTEE
MR QUINLAN (10.59): Mr Speaker, I present Public Accounts Committee Report No. 15 of the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio, entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 5, 1998 - Management of Housing Assistance", together with a copy of extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:
That the report be noted.
Mr Speaker, this report covered the delivery of housing assistance, the provision of accommodation, Kick Start grants and rental bond loans, managed by ACT Housing as the provider and, as the purchaser, by the Department of Urban Services. The audit revealed a situation, as most audits do, much like the curate's egg - good in parts. The good parts were that delivery of public housing assistance had been effective and the Auditor-General had assessed that Kick Start delivered effective housing assistance. The not so good parts were that delivery of assistance through the provision of public housing had been inefficient, Kick Start grants had been ineffective in moving people from public to private housing, and rental bond loans assistance had been neither effective nor efficient.
The audit findings were pursued with the Minister responsible, Mr Smyth. Members will recall that he had a dorothy dixer on this very topic and this very report yesterday. The general tone of the Minister's response was that the shortcomings will be, or are being, addressed. I guess that this particular report exemplifies the ritualistic process that we have in this place in relation to audit reports. Audit reports come in. We report on that stuff which is pretty good. That stuff which is not so good we send to a Minister. The Minister then says, "We will take the compliments", as one would expect, "and we will look at the shortcomings", and the process has been satisfied. Occasionally, I guess, there is a return and a relook at some of the findings. I suggest that this may be another case where the Auditor would be advised at some future time to revisit the particular area.
I have to say that the general sentiment I get in moving around the town is that ACT Housing has lifted its game somewhat. It is to be commended for that. The Government is to be commended for its part in that. We trust that it continues.
In relation to Kick Start, it would appear again that the general consensus is that it did not do what it set out to do. It did not stimulate building particularly, and probably the major beneficiaries of it were real estate agents. I note, however, that the Government has either wound that back or discontinued it. Otherwise, I commend the report to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.