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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2043 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

The many reforms are reasonable. They ensure that we can use the public housing stock as best we can. With that in mind, and in line with the process that we have developed here that committees look after relevant portfolios, I seek leave to move three amendments together.

Leave granted.

MR SMYTH: I move:

(1) Paragraph (1), omit "a Select Committee on Housing be established", substitute "the Standing Committee on Urban Services";

(2) Paragraph (1), omit "30 November", substitute "30 September"; and

(3) Paragraph (2), omit the paragraph.

Under my amendments, the matter will not go to a select committee but to the responsible standing committee, the Standing Committee on Urban Services. We would like to see a quick report and therefore seek to change "30 November" to "30 September". The amendments also delete the second paragraph of the motion, as the Urban Services Committee membership is already defined.

I am pleased that we will have such an inquiry. It is important that we continue to discuss this. This Government is very keen that community consultation take place. It is interesting that many of these matters have already been discussed. The Auditor-General, in his report on housing, raised these issues. The standing committee's response to that report suggested that they did need to be looked at and considered. Because some $2m is involved, the Government has decided to introduce these reforms through the budget. We believe the reforms are appropriate and acceptable and will allow us to use the stock that ACT Housing holds to maximum effect for all of the residents in the ACT who would like to access ACT Housing. I commend the amendments to the house.

MS TUCKER (4.10): I will speak to the motion as well as Mr Smyth's amendments. I will be supporting this motion to establish a select committee to inquire into the proposed changes to ACT Housing and their effect on the housing market of the ACT as well as the broader issues around the role of public housing in our society. It is interesting to hear Mr Smyth now say that he does not mind a committee looking at the matter, as long as it is Mr Hird's committee and the inquiry is shorter than proposed in the motion, so already, in my view, we can see a lack of commitment to a thorough and rigorous investigation of the broader issues. One has to ask the question: Why is the Minister now welcoming the opportunity to discuss these issues when he should have involved the community before?

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