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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3729 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

It has been reported to me that Transfield have dismissed the concerns of people with communication difficulties, saying they will accept phone calls from their carers. Presumably, this does not take into account that their carers are not necessarily living with them 24 hours a day, and may in fact be calling only every few days.

Minister, will you take action to ensure that people with communication difficulties are able to request maintenance, regardless of whether or not they have a carer-and hopefully in sufficient and reasonable time?

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, if the processes the former government put in place are not adequate, I will undertake to change them, to see that they are adequate. In the time I have been minister, I have received, directly into the office, many comments about housing from tenants, but I cannot say that a great number of those relate to the process for maintenance. Thus far, I have not picked up that there is a problem with the process. If there is a problem arising from when you blokes were running it, I will attend to it.

MR CORNWELL: Minister, will you assure the house-not necessarily immediately but after your investigations-that all contractors engaged by ACT Housing understand their obligations under the access and equity principles?

MR WOOD: Yes, I am sure they do. I will make sure they do, and I will report to you, Mr Cornwell.

Office of Rental Bonds

MS DUNDAS: Mr Speaker, my question is for Mr Stanhope as the Attorney-General. Minister, in June of this year, I raised three questions on notice-that the Office of Rental Bonds had made $400,000 profit in the financial year 2001-02. Your response, through the media, was about good years and bad years; that the money was to make up from previous bad years; that, in the JACS annual report, you would ensure full disclosure of money from interest earned on rental bonds, and how it was spent.

The JACS annual report contains no information on the interest earned, the rates of investment, the stand-alone cost of the Office of Rental Bonds, grants given to the Tenants Advice Service or ACT Shelter. Minister, did you convey your wishes for full disclosure to the staff at the Office of Rental Bonds and JACS, or was this a flippant remark to downplay a media story?

MR STANHOPE: No. It was an answer taken on the basis of advice received, Ms Dundas, as I remember, in response to remarks of yours which bordered on the defamatory, at the time.

Mr Humphries: They were not necessarily untrue!

MR STANHOPE: Well no, they were defamatory to the extent that the officers within the Office of Rental Bonds were, in some way, not complying with the law. Mr Humphries, we had a number of points of order and interjections of yours this morning about allegations against officers in situations where they cannot defend themselves-and this is surely one of those.

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