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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 449 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Okay, I am hearing that, Mr Hutchison, and I am assuming that the government feels that it has to change its approach to people with poor rental records. What came out of the select committee's inquiry that interested me was that there was a very broad and consistent concern from the sector about what will happen to people if they are not given public housing, especially people who are going to be disadvantaged in the private rental market.

Mr Hutchison seems to be thinking that if other people move into public housing, the people who have been evicted will be able to find accommodation in the private rental market. I am sorry, I do not think that that is what would happen. Mr Hutchison has remarked that the private rental market is very tight. We know that it is; we were told that at the select committee's hearings. In fact, a property agent said to us, from recollection, that he thought that this year there would be a slack of even less than one per cent in the private market; so, what are we actually saying here?

What I think we are hearing is that we are going to see people who have public housing as housing of last resort being evicted and I do not believe that they will be able to find accommodation in the private rental market, so there is a real issue for our society as a result of that. Mr Moore has been critical of people in this place taking a do-nothing approach. I do not believe that the select committee did take a do-nothing approach. The select committee asked the government to do some work to support its particular position.

It was the concern of many in the community that the response from the Liberals to housing was an ideological one, consistent with those of conservative governments across Australia. The concern there was that it was not supported by any particular analysis in the ACT of whom it would impact upon. Also, we heard from the government that the average period of tenancy was about four years, so there was a turnover with people moving out. The committee was interested in ascertaining who were in the group that was staying and asked the government to do that work. I recall from the motion I put that the government did say that it would respond again. I do not believe we have seen that response; I do not have it, anyway.

Mr Wood has taken the opportunity today to raise the issues of concern. I support him in doing that and will be supporting the disallowance, because I do not believe that there has been enough work done that I can with confidence support the government's approach to public housing. Mr Moore says, and I have some sympathy with his situation, that he does not have money in his budget to do more than he is doing, so he has to target it to a very strict welfare housing category. Obviously, that is an issue.

Mr Moore: For those most in need.

MS TUCKER: Mr Moore corrects me, which raises an interesting point. We are not quite sure that that is what is happening with this approach. Mr Speaker, it appears from the quote I just read out of Mr Hutchison's that it is quite likely that those most in need are going to get evicted, so I do not think that the government is even achieving that aim. But the point is that this government, according to Mr Moore, is not able to support public housing to the degree that he would like. He has to work within a budget and he is doing that, which is fine as that is his job.

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