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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3058 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

In regard to the budget for Housing: the extra money for community housing is welcomed. Community housing offers a credible opportunity for us to meet the needs of special tenant groups where they dictate they be rather than us saying, "Here's the bureaucratic process; we want you to meet us."

One of the great joys I had as housing minister was to go to a house in Fisher-Mr Corbell and Mr Rugendyke, and I think Mr Stefaniak, were there-where for the first time in the history of the ACT people with a mental disability were able to sign leases for their own houses, independent of all other people. I reckon that is a great achievement. The mothers and fathers of children with a disability who were reaching their own retirement and progressing towards the end of their lives at least had the certainty that their children had a roof over their heads that no one could take off them. The opportunities that community housing afford our city are tremendous, and we ought to be taking that on board.

I would like to congratulate the Housing staff as well; they do a great job in often difficult circumstances. We need to make sure that they have the appropriate training and the support that they deserve to implement the programs that the new government has put in place. But we do have a problem with the stock. We need to make sure that we have stock appropriate to the needs of tenants, not stock that we have simply been left with over time.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-part 16-Justice and Community Safety, $103,295,000 (net cost of outputs), $12,357,000 (capital injection) and $91,644,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $207,296,000.

MR STEFANIAK (4.06): I will make some comments on this area, and no doubt other people will make further comments, especially in relation to corrections and police. I noticed that in the justice part of the portfolio there seem to be only three actual initiatives. Of course, I exempt police, emergency services and corrections from those comments; there are initiatives there, as one would expect.

I saw $89,000 for the Bill of Rights Committee. I, for one, in my party, am certainly dead set against the idea of a bill of rights, but that is not an unreasonable amount of money for a committee that is going around attempting some consultation and has a reasonable length of time in which to go about its job. I saw $103,000 to establish an ACT consumer law centre-a promise of this government, not unexpected-and I saw $585,000 for the Sentence Administration Board.

Apart from that, I had great difficulty in finding out what else the government is doing in this area. The budget cupboard appears to be bare. When one looks at last year's initiatives, this year's seems to be somewhat light on. Last year in the area there was $354,000 for home detention, $425,000 to upgrade the court information systems, $1.484 million for intervention programs to reduce recidivism, $570,000 for a family violence intervention program and $545,000 for the management of interstate custodial offices.

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