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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3728 ..

Adaptable housing

MS TUCKER: My question is for Mr Wood, Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. It is with regard to adaptable housing in the new development in Lyons, replacing the now demolished Burnie Court.

Mr Wood, the proposed development will be a mix of private and publicly owned units. Can you advise the Assembly of the number and proportion of both private and public housing which, when completed, will be adaptable for people in wheelchairs, or people otherwise living with disabilities?

MR WOOD: No, I cannot advise you of that, at this stage. An auction is planned in the near future but, to my knowledge, no date has been set. Terms and requirements in that process have not yet been determined. At this juncture, there are no precise numbers on that. The interest of the government is known in those areas you talk about, but those matters are yet to be finally resolved.

MS TUCKER: I would like you to tell the Assembly what the government's view is of the appropriate proportion of adaptable properties in all ACT public and private housing-and strategies the ACT government has in place to ensure that this proportion is met.

MR WOOD: You have heard our comments, over the period, about the importance of adaptable housing. I do not have a clearly defined answer for you, at this point in time-it would vary across the areas in the city. One of the problems we have with development on the Burnie Court site is that we do not, ourselves within ACT Housing, have the resources to do the development.

One day in the future, I would like to follow the path Mr Corbell is taking with land development and do the same with any housing development that might occur. However, we do not have those resources at the moment. Our approach thus far has been to follow the not altogether adequate steps the former government took of spot purchasing here and there. The process has been, other than for older persons units, simply to go out and spot purchase. As we develop resources, we will seek to vary that approach, but that is some little distance away.

Housing-contracting of maintenance

MR CORNWELL: My question is again to a busy minister, Mr Wood. I understand, Minister-and we are dealing with the present not the future-that the maintenance of southside ACT Housing properties is done by a contractor, Transfield. I also understand that ACT Housing will not accept maintenance requests from tenants, insisting instead that they contact Transfield directly.

However, Transfield will accept maintenance requests only by telephone. This makes it very tricky for people with communication difficulties-such as the deaf, or people with cerebral palsy-to request maintenance. In the past, these clients have apparently used faxes or emails to request that sort of assistance.

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