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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1740 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

ensures access to appropriate and affordable housing for all residents-or we can continue to ignore the problem.

This government believes that housing is the prerequisite for ensuring all members of our community have the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives and participate fully in the community, and it is the intention of this government to give priority to housing.

I present the following paper:

Labor Government's commitment to housing-ministerial statement, 16 May 2002.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR STEFANIAK (4.24): Mr Speaker, I welcome the paper, and I will be interested to see what the government does in its budget. The nub is in the minister's conclusion:

... access to adequate housing is a key building block of our society. Health, education and employment outcomes all depend on a person having adequate shelter.

That is true. Canberra started very much as a city built around public housing. That was mainly to entice public servants to come to Canberra. In 1950, 96 per cent of all housing was public housing. Those of us who have lived in this town for many years grew up in public housing. I can recall going from a one-bedroom flat in Barton to a housing trust property in Ainslie, which is still there, I am pleased to see-and it looks very nice too.

As time went on, more and more people bought their own homes, and public houses were sold off. We still have one of the highest percentages of public housing in the country, at 10 or 11 per cent of total housing stock.

I do not think I have seen before the number of people who have had difficulty getting accommodation, especially emergency accommodation, over the last couple of months.

The minister spoke about his government's philosophy on security of tenure and how long people should stay in public housing. He has concerns about removing three-year leases for new public housing tenants. That process was started nationally when I was housing minister. The intention was not to deprive people-

Mr Cornwell: Mr Speaker, could I take a point of order, sir?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, you could, Mr Cornwell.

Mr Cornwell: There are no members and no minister present for the government.

MR SPEAKER: Are you drawing attention to the state of the house?

Mr Cornwell: I am drawing attention to the fact that there is nobody from the government listening.

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