Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 445 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

But a significant number of the residents of such houses are young people on very low incomes, perhaps on youth allowances, who would find that taking 25 per cent of their small income is really a severe imposition upon them. I think the evidence shows that not enough consideration has been given to the ramifications of some of these provisions. To go back a step, for example, the committee wanted the government-the minister at the time-to look at the implications of people having to move from their tenancy by virtue of changed eligibility. That was not done. I do not think the government understands or acknowledges some of the problems that it may create. At least in this circumstance of an increase from 10 to 25 per cent of income, the response from the community has been such that the government has been forced to recognise some aspects of that.

On another matter, the waiting list is now segmented, something peak housing groups have argued strongly against. The most alarming part of this change is that, again, the discretionary powers of the commissioner have been increased. New provision 6 states that the commissioner shall determine priority categories for the purpose of this program having regard to the relevant need of applicants. What are those categories, which criteria are used to determine them, and why is the process no longer a transparent process?

A final concern is the issue of transfers. Tenants who have a change in the composition of their family-for example, an older couple whose children have left home-may now be required by the commissioner to transfer. In many circumstances, tenants may welcome that; they may wish to move from a house with a large yard to a townhouse with a small garden. Indeed, they may apply for that. I know of many circumstances where Housing has facilitated such a change. Again, I do not believe that this should happen. A house is a home. It is their home and they should not be forced to be transferred. I say again that that house is their home. Whilst the tenants should be offered that alternative and allowed that alternative, they should not be forced to accept that option.

In general, I do not think that some of these measures are beneficial to people whose homes are public houses and I would urge the Assembly to exercise its right and disallow the provisions I have indicated.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (10.49): I rise to oppose most of what Mr Wood has moved in his disallowance motion. Mr Speaker, it is very easy to take the approach of doing nothing, of not making any changes and making sure that everything just goes along in the same way, which means that those people who are worse off now will remain worse off and those who are better off will remain better off but they will not notice the difference, so it will not cause any particular problems. I must say that that was generally the approach that the Labor Party used when they were in power.

Mr Speaker, it is much more difficult to look at it and say, "Yes, there are some problems occurring here and it is incumbent upon us as the government to try to deal with those problems." When these issues were discussed in an almost identical debate and were resolved in the opposite way to the one that Mr Wood would like today, I pointed out that I had been advised that to deliver the sort of result which Mr Wood wants and which, I have to say, I would like to have where people would have permanency of tenure would cost us in the order of $300 million.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .