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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4119 ..

University of Canberra Act-University of Canberra-Courses and Awards Amendment Statute 2002 (No 2)-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-202 (LR, 25 November 2002).

Utilities Act-

Utilities (Water Restrictions) Regulations 2002-Subordinate Law SL2002-33 (LR, 21 November 2002).

Utilities Act (Electricity Full Retail Competition Public Awareness Campaign) Ministerial Direction 2002 (No 1)-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-200 (LR, 21 November 2002).

Utilities (Approval of Variation of Industry Code) 2002 (No 1)-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-204 (LR, 28 November 2002).

Utilities (Water Restrictions) Regulations 2002-Water Restriction Scheme Approval 2002-Disallowable Instrument DI2002-203 (LR, 22 November 2002).

Public rental housing assistance program

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a short statement about one item.

Leave granted.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, amongst this subordinate legislation is an amendment which I have approved to the public rental housing assistance program. This amendment restores security of tenure to all public housing tenants. It fulfils an election promise of the Stanhope Labor government.

The former government put in place arrangements requiring the Commissioner for Housing to review the income and assets of public tenants every three to five years. Those tenants who did not meet the eligibility criteria at the time of the review faced having their tenancies terminated.

With some exceptions, tenancies signed on or after 1 January 2001 were affected. Public housing tenants were thus discouraged from improving their financial situation by actively or fully engaging in the workforce. This is a classic poverty trap. More than this, those tenants who continued to meet the income and asset requirements were facing the threat of being compulsorily transferred to smaller housing if their family circumstances were found to have changed.

With this amendment to the program, the government has now moved to get rid of these review arrangements. ACT public tenants can now have confidence and peace of mind to plan for the future, knowing they have a permanent home. They can actively seek work or better jobs without fear of having their houses withdrawn. In the new year, I propose to bring forward further reforms to improve the way public housing assistance is provided to people in need in the ACT community. This will include further changes to

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