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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 533 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

figures-with two exceptions, have only very marginally increased. Bear in mind that tenants pay only a quarter of household income. If they are paying full market rent, there are rebates available, so the rent does come down in most circumstances.

The level of rent is an issue I am aware of. It is still being considered. Adherence to market rent is part of the program that is pretty solidly set in place and relates to the new homes tenants are in.

MRS BURKE: I thank the minister for his answer. I am very disappointed. I want to know what you are going to do to remedy this unfair situation that seeks to disadvantage these people.

MR WOOD: You use the word "disadvantage". We are sympathetic to people who have been re-placed because of events entirely outside their control. We understand their position. I think we have looked after them in full measure. I am very satisfied with what ACT Housing has done for its tenants. We immediately relocated all tenants. I think only a handful, up to half a dozen perhaps, have not been relocated. They have had ample offers, but they have very specific requirements that are not easy to fill.

You talk about disadvantage. ACT Housing has bent over backwards to be helpful and supportive in every possible way. Tenants are now in different accommodation. It may only be temporary until they go back to where they were. It is a matter we are considering. Whether we can adjust the program to accommodate it I am not sure. It is, as they say, under active consideration. I am getting the same comments as you have been getting, Mrs Burke.

Indigenous housing

MS TUCKER: My question, which is also to Mr Wood, the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, concerns the $350,000 allocated to indigenous housing in the 2002-03 budget. I understand that there is shortly to be a request for tender for the allocation of these funds. Can the minister advise the Assembly of the time frame for this tender process, up to the point of allocating the funds? Can he assure the Assembly that the funds will be allocated within this budget year?

MR WOOD: Certainly in respect of this budget year that will be the case. My memory tells me that we want to move by the end of this month, but that is a memory that I will need to check just to see if that is accurate. As you would understand, there have been all sorts of claims on the $350,000. We want to get those out and get the groups satisfied. We want to see full action. We are moving within the proper requirements of government for doing it very thoroughly and carefully, and giving everybody a chance. We are doing it as quickly as we can.

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I wish to ask a supplementary question. Can the Minister also advise the Assembly whether the government's preferred model for indigenous housing is to fund a number of suppliers or a single supplier.

MR WOOD: It would be not a single supplier. It would be more than one.

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