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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3684 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Government officials have now requested a later date, which is 13 December, knowing that we would be seeking an extension. It appears that there are difficulties for everybody concerned for this report date. We would have preferred to wait until the government submission arrived before we held public hearings, but decided to start before that because that government submission was delayed.

We started public hearings on 28 and 29 September. Mr Hird was not able to be there for those two hearings. We have also had hearings on 26 October, 4 November and 10 November, some with Mr Hird present and some not, and some with Mr Wood present and some not.

We also have the issue of the annual reports and financial statements now having to be looked at by the committee. This is an extra burden on the work time. I raise these issues not to lay blame in any way on anybody here but because I am a little disturbed about the politicisation, let us say, of a request quite recently in this place for an extension of time for a committee to report. I would not like to see that happen, although I realise it is a slightly different circumstance. I think it is important to get it on the record anyway.

It is fair to say that everyone here is working under a lot of pressure in the committee system because of the workload, particularly on the Liberal backbench member, Mr Hird, and other members as well. It has been difficult for Mr Wood on occasions to get to this select committee.

It is just a matter of us cooperating with each other. I understand it could lead to some inconvenience to government but I really do not think that it could be avoided. Government does also, of course, have to take some responsibility here because they are imposing further work on the committee through the obligation for us to look at the annual reports and financial statements. We just have to work with the situation we are presented with as best we can. I know that the committees that I am working on work extremely hard.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.19): Ms Tucker informed me some time ago that she would be moving this motion. I thank her for that notice. It is a curious reference to politicisation of committees and their reporting dates. When we raise it, it suddenly becomes politicisation but, when everybody else raises it, they are just working hard.

That aside, these reforms are very important. The Government's program to ensure that we are delivering the best sort of housing to the maximum number of people that we can is important. The delay in these reforms now means that some $1m in revenue will be forgone; it is 100,000 leaky taps, it is 1,500 new hot water services, it is 10,000 broken windows that might not get repaired. I urge the committee to look very seriously at the issues here. The delay is costing money that we should be spending appropriately on those most in need - the tenants that we have. One million dollars is not to be scoffed at. The Government would prefer that there was not a delay, but I understand Ms Tucker has the numbers. Just for the record, this is $1m forgone in this year.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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