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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 4005 ..

Mr Humphries: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister has barely got about 10 words of her answer out and there have already been interjections from every member opposite except one or two.

MR SPEAKER: Nobody wishes to listen, do they?

Mr Hargreaves: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wasn't talking.

Mr Humphries: Except one or two, I said, Mr Hargreaves.

Mr Hargreaves: Thank you. Get it straight, Gary.

Mr Humphries: I did. That is what I said to start with. I think the Chief Minister deserves some courtesy in being able to get this answer out without the barrage of interjections she has had from those opposite every time she has spoken this question time.

MR SPEAKER: I have to uphold the point of order. Because of this barrage, it is no wonder so many of the questions are repeated each day.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I was very pleased to see that the number of people defined as homeless by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the report on this issue put out in the last couple of weeks by the director of sociology at Monash University showed that the ACT had the lowest number of homeless people per 10,000 head of population in Australia. From memory, the figure was something like 40.3 per 10,000.

It is important to look underneath that to see what the definition of homeless is. Again, I am operating from memory here, but the definition is not just about people who live on the streets, although that is an important issue. It is also about people who are living with friends or family, people who are living in supported accommodation and people who are living in boarding houses. It is interesting to note that we have the largest percentage of people living with friends and relatives. I fully accept that if that is not where they want to live it is a very real issue for us. But it is very hard to know whether people are choosing to do that. The person we were just talking about, the person who went overseas with Mr Humphries, is currently doing just that. I do not think that you would regard him as homeless. In fact, my own PA, is in the process of doing something similar.

Mr Speaker, there are issues involving people forced to live in situations that they are not happy about. A real issue that maybe this Assembly should be addressing on a broader scale is that these figures also show that the ACT has the largest percentage of people living in SAAP accommodation in Australia. When you look at our statistics for SAAP accommodation, you see that our flowthrough in SAAP and our efficiency in SAAP are amongst the lowest in Australia. I think that is a real issue that we should be addressing in this place. It means that people are staying for long periods of time in refuges, hostels, boarding places and so on. It is the sort of thing that, very appropriately, an Assembly committee could pick up.

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