Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 3077 ..
MR WOOD: My question is to the caring Minister for housing. With the Assembly's indulgence, I want to thank the Minister for the help I received from his office. But the case I raise now is one where I make a very different judgment from that of ACT Housing. Minister, I understand that you are aware of the case I raise. I have sent you the name of the person so you can readily identify it. I am advised that ACT Housing next Monday will act on a warrant it has obtained and evict a resident from one of its houses - more than that, evict a resident and six children. Technically, the resident did not qualify for the house, as she did not have a six-month residence in the ACT, but she moved in with the then tenant, her sister, for a number of reasons, including the fact that her children could receive specialist education services. Two children attend nearby Cranleigh School and one attends the Woden Special School. Her sister later left the house, but the new tenant has maintained occupancy and faithfully paid the rent. In the face of eviction, and the loss of the Housing Review Committee, she has sought private sector accommodation. But in the tight rental market she has been unsuccessful, and she is now desperate. Minister, I understand ACT Housing wishes to maintain its processes and respect for those on waiting lists, but this is a genuine case. I ask: Can you intervene to see that this family is not put out on the street next Monday?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, that is a good question. I think Mr Wood, in his question, answers for himself what should occur here. I thank him for at least supplying the name of the family involved. I am aware of the case. It is not a simple case, and it cannot be reduced to a few words and a simple answer in this place. The reality is that Housing, in attempting to deal with all applicants equitably on the waiting list, has a process which it needs to follow at all times to ensure that we are issuing houses for those most in need and for those who have met the qualifications.
As Mr Wood himself has said, this case was taken to the HRC, the Housing Review Committee, which makes decisions independent of Housing. Where an applicant or a tenant is not happy with the decision that Housing has taken, they are able to take it to the HRC. The HRC, in this case, has said that Housing has done the right thing.
Mr Berry: Are you going to intervene?
MR SMYTH: No, I will not intervene, because, as Mr Wood concludes, it is important that Housing looks after those people who have applied and who have gone through the process correctly. There is far more to this case which should not be discussed here in the Assembly. If members want to discuss it privately, I will be happy to do so with them, but I will not intervene.
MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I understand all this, and I know the circumstances. I might tell the Minister in the house that I am not intervening in another case where a family with eight children is being evicted, not from an ACT Housing property. I am not intervening because I have considered the circumstances, and I am not prepared to do so because of those circumstances. But the facts are that this woman and her six children will be on the street on Monday. They cannot get other accommodation. I know it has not been perfect, Minister, but you stood up here a little while ago and you said, "This is a caring government". You have to do