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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2211 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

to a warm house with a roof. Most of us in Canberra have that, but there are some people in difficulty. We need to acknowledge that people have great concern about having that roof over their head. Minister, you might tell me in a few minutes that I just have not read all the material that you have put out, that it is all there - - -

Mr Smyth: I just do not think you have.

MR WOOD: I have been pretty assiduous in going through things - I really have - and I just cannot see the whole picture. It may be there in bits and pieces. Perhaps I have not done a cut and paste and put it all together in a good enough form. Therefore, I invite you to come back into the Assembly, or put it out in a printed document, and say very clearly where you want to go on a whole range of aspects. I think the Minister well understands that the community has a large body of people very involved in housing. I know that Mr Moore, Ms Tucker, Mr Kaine, Mr Rugendyke and others are often in contact with these groups and go to their seminars and meetings. There is out there a community very interested in representing people in public housing, as well as 12,000 householders who are particularly interested.

It may be, Minister, that Ms Tucker and the Assembly have given you the opportunity, to make this full statement, because as of yesterday we have a committee inquiring into housing costs. Perhaps your submission to that will be the vehicle by which you can put all this together for me. That would be a good time. I dare say we will have a meeting of that committee within a few days and start the machinery rolling. You will get a letter inviting you to make a submission, and that might be the best occasion. We might get that before we come back into this Assembly, so we might be moving faster by doing it in that way.

I have said a number of times in this place, and I do not think it is a cliche, that you should not regard public housing as houses; you have to understand them as homes. That is what they are for people. They are not bricks and mortar alone; they are the homes they live in. When a family is out at night and say, "Let's go home", that is what it is about and that is what it means to them. I hope that, together with Ms Tucker and Mr Hird, we will be able to advance our knowledge and, most importantly, settle some issues and hear what the community groups out there are saying. We will listen most assiduously to what you tell us, Minister. I am really looking forward to the Minister making life easier for me so that I do not have to do all this cutting and pasting and the information comes to me in a very clear and explicit document of 20, 30 or 40 pages, whatever it takes. I look forward to that, Minister.

MS TUCKER (8.05): The first comment I want to make about this housing appropriation is that it is obviously not a budget issue that we are discussing here. What we are discussing is the Liberal Government's proposals to change fundamentally the way the ACT looks at public housing. It is quite inappropriate for it to be linked to the budget in any way. There is no appropriation connected with it. It is interesting to me that we are having this discussion in this context. I do not even want to go into detail about the concerns that have been expressed to members of this place about those policy changes because, as Mr Wood has said, we will have an opportunity to do that through the select committee whose formation the Assembly supported. I want to say, however, that I assume that the Minister realises that he cannot just proceed with the changes as there is a disallowability to them and he will have to bring them back to the Assembly

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