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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 978 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

timely, too. I understand the last overhaul was in about 1991. Mr Berry and Mr Haggar should note that an independent - yes, independent - auditor of no less a reputation than Price Waterhouse Coopers has found that the department's census procedure was "sound and should result in materially correct enrolment data". How about that? Therefore, it seems that these people opposite were merely attempting to defend what may prove to be the indefensible by passing the blame on to the department. Although we have not yet received the results of the independent investigation into these particular actions, prima facie evidence certainly appears to show that what occurred was, at the very least, outside the bounds of what is normally acceptable.

There is more, Mr Speaker. When four more incidents of schools overstating their enrolments were uncovered, Mr Berry again was quoted, this time as saying that this was an indication that the system of relying totally on a census for the year's resources is not up to the job. Mr Berry, you are wrong again, because Price Waterhouse Coopers found that the census process was sound and should result in materially correct enrolment data.

Ms Tucker: Are you going to table the report for us?

MR HIRD: I ask a supplementary question. Thank you, Minister. That was a surprise, and well received, too. Can you, Minister, tell the parliament whether the February cut-off date was an initiative of this Government or whether it was in place under the previous Follett Labor Government?

MR STEFANIAK: Funny you should ask that, Mr Hird, because this census date has been in place for many years. And guess what? It was in place when Mr Bill Wood over there was the Education Minister. The year 1991 rings a bell, Mr Hird, because that is the last time it was reviewed. We had had a Labor government then for 31/2 years or so. This cut-off date applied then and this census procedure was in place then. There were no criticisms then. If Mr Berry insists that the process is flawed - Price Waterhouse Coopers disagree - then the process was also flawed under the previous Labor Government. I certainly do not have any dramas in tabling the relevant parts of the Price Waterhouse and Coopers report.

ACT Housing Properties

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Smyth, Minister for housing. Minister, can you tell the Assembly how many ACT Housing properties are boarded up, closed down, forgotten about or otherwise uninhabitable, and what are you going to do about it?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Wood for his question and his interest in public housing. Over the past 12 months I have followed on from the work that Mr Stefaniak started in coming to grips with public housing in the ACT. We currently control some 12 per cent of housing in the ACT. That is a very large amount. The dilemma most ideally highlighted by the Productivity Commission was that the age of the stock and the type of the stock that we have no longer match the needs of tenants.

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