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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 455 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

has been beavering away assiduously on creating jobs. But that does not alter the fact that, jobs notwithstanding, there is a significant element of our community living in poverty.

Mr Moore's response to Mr Wood's proposal does not deal with that issue. I can understand his plea that he has to live within a budget, but the government has been making much of the fact lately that we have got ourselves into a budget surplus position. We have money to spend and the Chief Minister has been asking for proposals as to how some of this money might be spent. Here is a damn good case for spending some of it.

I have not heard Mr Moore come back and say, "Yes, we will take some of the government's surplus and apply it to this." He is applying a mechanical formula that leaves some people still at a disadvantage, and they are people who have no recourse. They have no alternatives open to them. In fact, I heard on the radio this morning-I think I did not mishear it-that the Commonwealth Grants Commission is going to give this government another $78 million next year. There seems to be money to burn. I do not know how come, because for 10 years we have been struggling to get ourselves out of a deficit budgeting situation, but all of a sudden the government has lots of money to spend. Let us have some of it spent where it is needed.

Mr Moore's proposal does ameliorate the situation somewhat. But, I repeat, it deals with only one of the many aspects, the many facets, raised in Mr Wood's motion. I want to know what the government is going to do about the rest of them, if the government is not going to accept the report of the select committee which was published a year ago. The very first recommendation, unequivocal, said, "The committee recommends that security of tenure for public housing tenants be maintained." The government is not doing anything to guarantee that; in fact it is doing the very opposite. It is removing security of tenure from many tenants in public housing. That appears to me to be the essence of what the government is proposing.

Mr Wood is attempting to prevent that. Mr Wood is attempting to ensure that some of the recommendations of our select committee of a year ago are, in fact, put into effect by the government and the government seems determined to resist these recommendations. I do no recall that any of them have been put into effect yet. Maybe I am wrong; maybe the government has done something. But we had a select committee, the select committee reported and Mr Wood is now trying to protect the interests of the least well-to-do in our community by disallowing certain elements of this determination and the government is resisting it without putting forward any alternative proposal as to how these people might be assisted.

I am in somewhat of a dilemma. I must say that I got hold of instrument No 376 and tried to make sense of it, but it is pretty hard to read. It is pretty hard to figure out just what on earth it does mean. Obviously, Mr Wood has done a pretty good job of analysis on it, because he knows what it means. Maybe he is closer to the problem than I am.

The government's response does not give me confidence that it is serious about addressing this problem, so I am in somewhat of a dilemma. I suspect that in some respects Mr Wood is going a little bit too far with this motion; but, on the other hand, the government has done nothing even to recognise the essential problems inherent in our present arrangements. In a way, no matter which way I vote on this issue, I am not going

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