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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1316 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Minister, given your interest in the issue of affordable housing, have you made representations to Mr Corbell to ensure that there are enough blocks on the market to meet the needs of home buyers with limited budgets? If so, are you satisfied with his response to your representations?

MR WOOD: When Mr Stefaniak indicated that his question was to the minister for housing, I was very pleased, because we have not had a question on housing in all the life of this Assembly. There have been very many questions, yet on the critical issue of housing this is the first one. Of course, it is really not a question about housing. It carries on an argument the opposition has had with Mr Corbell about land release. To my knowledge, Mr Corbell has answered that question once, twice, perhaps three times. The question has been answered.

It is the case that we have established a housing affordability task force. Mr Corbell and I were much involved in the setting up of that proposal. We are much involved in discussions about how it is to be done and what the outcomes might be. If you want to ask further questions about land release, Mr Corbell will give you the same answer again.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I note your comment that you cannot force ministers to answer questions in the way they perhaps should.

MR SPEAKER: Don't misquote me. You cannot make them answer questions the way you want them to.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I will ask a supplementary question. Minister, does the fall in housing affordability of 1.5 per cent in the March quarter emphasise the need for the ACT government to provide housing blocks within the price range of new home buyers.

MR WOOD: I think the other day Mr Corbell said we were releasing 450 first home buyer blocks in Dunlop. We are interested in it. We are concerned about it. It is something I never found you people concerned about. When you were housing minister or when Mr Smyth was housing minister, you did not show this sort of interest. It is interesting to see that you are starting to develop it.

Boys education

MR CORNWELL: My question is directed to Mr Corbell, the minister for education. Minister, many people in the community are concerned at the growing pressures in education and the growing rate of suicides amongst teenage boys. This occurs right across the country, but it is also the situation here. Against this background, during the term of the previous government, a report on the education of boys was commissioned by the department to examine the problems that exist among boys at school, to discover what their concerns are, and to determine what measures might improve outcomes. I have a few ideas about this myself, but never mind that now.

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