Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 3078 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
something. Will you tell us what you are going to do? The lady applied for an ACT government house down the street, and she was knocked back. Something has to be done, and I would like to know what.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, as I have said, I am aware of the case, and I have been asked that I be kept updated as to what will happen with this family, and how the process will be followed through. It is well and good to stand in this place and say you must intervene. We acknowledge that somebody has not gone about the process correctly - - -
Mr Wood: I am very selective in what I bring forward.
MR SMYTH: I acknowledge Mr Wood's comment; he is indeed very selective. I certainly appreciate the way in which his office works with mine in trying to minimise the impact on tenants and in dealing with tenants fairly. But Mr Wood's proposal is that the way to get around the ACT Housing waiting list and the HRC and the other parts of the process is to ignore it. If that is what Labor is proposing, that you ignore looking after all people fairly and equally, then what they are talking about is organised pandemonium. I do not actually think Mr Wood meant that. I would hope that the Labor Party's housing policy is not organised pandemonium. If we are going to throw all these things out every time we get a very sad case before us, then those who have done the right thing, who have abided by the rules and who have waited for their turn will say, "Well, why should we? Why should we when it is Labor Party policy that, if you break the rules and you can make it into as bad a case as you can, you will get preferential treatment?".
This is a knife edge. This is a family in genuine need. This family also has special needs, and I acknowledge that. But in dealing with the department they have been less than fair. Even the HRC has backed up the department's determination. I have been asked to be kept abreast of what will happen to this family. I have not closed the doors as such, but I believe that what Mr Wood has said is very sad, if the Labor Party believes the way you get what you want is to ignore the rules.
Ms Carnell: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.
MR MOORE: Yesterday Ms Tucker asked me a question with regard to the Drug and Alcohol Counselling Service. She asked me whether I could explain how the removal of the duty system would affect consumers and what training would be provided to staff. She also asked about the qualification of workers. Then as a supplementary question she asked whether we are keeping statistics on waiting times and access to counsellors.
My answer is as follows: The new intake system replaces and builds on the previous duty system. Clients now access the service by phone. During telephone contact, the client's needs are prioritised, as I indicated yesterday. If requiring an assessment, the client is booked for that assessment. Clients presenting at the Civic service will be seen by an intake officer or an assessment officer. The new service arrangements will be explained, and the intake process will be completed in person rather than over the phone. Therefore, if a client requires an assessment, they will be booked in for an