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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3056 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Culture and heritage are continuing processes, and this embassy is a part of those processes. It is a part of our living heritage here in Canberra. It provides an inter-cultural interface between Canberra residents, tourists and a range of indigenous people. It is in this pristine, ordered city a piece of the real world which reminds us all of what Australia is, where it has come from and where it is trying to go.

At the end of last month the National Centre for Development Studies, the Social Protection Faculty and TEAR Australia ran a human rights workshop at the ANU. The keynote speaker at the workshop was Dr Minas Hiruy, an internationally renowned scholar in spheres of development, poverty and human rights and executive director of Hope Enterprises in Ethiopia for the past 15 years. He clearly approved of the embassy and was impressed by it. He described it as a very evocative and effective interpretation of the status of Aboriginal people in this country. He also said that it reflected well on democracy in this country that we accepted the presence of this embassy at the front door of our beautiful houses of parliament.

MR SPEAKER: The discussion on this matter of public importance has concluded.

Appropriation Bill 2002-2003

Detail stage

Debate resumed.

Proposed expenditure-part 15-ACT Housing, nil expenditure.

MR SMYTH (3.59): Mr Speaker, I rise to make a few comments on some of the pieces that were said about Housing before we went to lunch. Some of the members lamented the decline in the number of properties ACT Housing has, and I want to put that into perspective.

We are the youngest capital city in the country and, ironically, we have the oldest housing stock in the country. When we were in government we sought to get rid of properties that were beyond their use-by date. Another problem is that, whereas we have an enormous concentration of housing in the inner suburbs, I remember that when I was minister the longest lists for accommodation were in places like Gungahlin, Belconnen and Tuggeranong. It was the stock mismatch with the needs of Canberrans that prompted us to change what we were doing.

Another problem was the inappropriate concentrations-places like MacPherson Court, Lachlan Court and Burnie Court-which led to such abuse of the properties that they were often unable to be used. For instance, the occupancy rate at Burnie Court was incredibly low and, because of circumstances there, it became a centre that attracted crime and, because of the concentrations of tenant type there, stereotypes of residents of Burnie Court were repeated.

Burnie Court did not work in the modern context. It was built as bedsitter flats for public servants who were coming to Canberra so that they had somewhere to stay and could move out when they found their permanent accommodation. Is that appropriate stock to

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