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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2210 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

I make the point strongly that I think that a lot of the houses we inherited from the Commonwealth were in very poor condition. There were comments at various times that the Federal Government gave us $1 billion worth of assets. They are assets that are costing us a heck of a lot of money to bring up to scratch. I recognise that and I note the indications in various publications of the Minister of the extent of the shortfall in funds for maintenance.

Mr Speaker, I have been critical of some aspects of policy of the Minister in respect of housing. I have had something to say about the Narrabundah long-stay caravan park, Lachlan Court, Burnie Court and Uriarra. We have now a more satisfactory outcome at Uriarra. I have been concerned about the rapid move to transfer homes to the community housing sector. I have had some comments about the changed policies on permanency of tenure, rental bonds, the segmentation of waiting lists and the like. I read assiduously what the Minister puts out in media releases. I do not know whether I see them all. Given the nature of this place, I suppose we do not send each other our media releases, but we should.

Unless I have missed something, there seems to me no framework, no overall policy, that the Minister has set down on where he is going. I know that we have all the papers, all the annual reports and all the information on this subject, but it has been a period of quite noticeable change in housing, especially with the new statements about permanency of tenure and the like, and what I would invite the Minister to do when we come back into the Assembly after the break is to give us a ministerial statement in which he locks it all into 20 or 30 minutes or to put out a document in which he sets down where he took up housing a couple of years ago, say, and where he is taking it to. I read his annual report and I read the documentation, but I do not pick up there a clear thread as to where he wants to be.

Minister, you want to attend to maintenance and you certainly want to reduce the number of houses. You talk about the stock that you have and how you have to change your stock to meet the needs of people today. I know all about that. But then I see you wanting to move 1,000 homes across to community housing and continuing to sell housing. I have seen different figures on that in print. I would like a clearer picture of where the Government is going.

I have asked the Minister at various times what he wants to do with Burnie Court. When the Minister made an announcement about Lachlan Court he gave me a clearer indication, for the first time - perhaps I had been a bit cynical and suspicious before that - that Burnie Court was going to stay and was going to be refurbished in some form or other. Whether the Lachlan Court funds will be enough for that I doubt. However, I have not seen a clear statement about Burnie Court. I am told that there is a big complexes policy, and I have been asking questions about it in the consultation and so on and I am not clear in my mind that the answers have spelt out well what the Government is intending to do.

For the people in these places it is their home. Sometimes the home is not in the best condition in the world, but it is their home, it is a roof over their head, and there is really nothing more important than that. I will be going home at some stage tonight or early in the morning - though it is looking all right at the moment, is it not? - and I will be going

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