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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 215 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

So I think it is very important that this motion not be supported. The amended motion, however, would be fine. I am always interested in seeing an assessment of need in our society for whatever social services the Assembly is interested in. I am supportive also of the need for accommodation for men, and men with children, and this tender is obviously about men with children. It is an accommodation and support service for homeless men and their accompanying children. We know that need is there.

A committee may well do some very useful work in looking generally at the issue of men and accommodation. I know that in my time here I have certainly seen an unmet need in that area. A lot of homeless people in this city are men and they often also have mental health problems. We know there are some major problems in respect of emergency accommodation for particular groups of men and women. There are also major problems in respect of people who need long-term housing and who are very vulnerable for various reasons. So I would welcome an inquiry into this issue. However, as I said, I will not be supporting Mr Stefaniak's motion.

MS DUNDAS (11.57): There has been a lot of discussion about the areas of unmet need. This afternoon we will be discussing the hospital. Yesterday I raised the issue of youth emergency housing. We have established in this Assembly a select committee on the status of women to look at unmet need in that area.

This Assembly is tasked with dealing with the hard questions of prioritising and values. Crisis, emergency and public accommodation is severely lacking in the ACT, and I am not going to dispute that support services for homelessness and those in crisis need to be inquired into. However, I think the issue that we are looking at today in terms of homeless men and their children is broader than this current tender process. I thank Mr Stefaniak for bringing this matter to our attention, but I will be supporting Mr Corbell's amendment and the motion as amended.

MR CORNWELL (11.58): Mr Speaker, this is not an amendment-it is a gutting of the motion. If we take out the question of evaluation, we will be left with the committee inquiring into accommodation and support services for homeless men and their accompanying children, full stop. Just in case part (1) (b) of the motion, "any other related matter", might stray into other matters such as evaluation, then we are taking that out as well. We will have gutted, filleted, the entire motion.

It is very interesting that we have also had a smoke screen put up by Mr Corbell, supported by Ms Tucker and, to a degree, Ms Dundas, that would do honour to the cigar room in the Hyatt Hotel. What we are talking about here is not the tender-we are talking about the evaluation of the ACT Men's Accommodation and Crisis Service.

Anybody who has read some of the documents will find that they raise serious questions about how effective and thorough the evaluation was, and whether in fact some of it may have been wrong. I accept that everybody can make mistakes in evaluation. Mr Stefaniak's motion is concerned with examining these very points. It is not about a tender process; it is to examine the evaluation of the ACT Men's Accommodation and Crisis Service.

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