Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1028 ..

Mrs Dunne

: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Does this question ask for an announcement of government policy?


: No. The government administers housing. Some houses have been burnt down. It is reasonable to ask a question about what the future holds.


: I can advise the house what is happening, as I have advised the tenants by letter which I expect they received yesterday. I make it public now. ACT Housing is to buy or build more than 50 houses across urban Canberra to replace rural properties destroyed in the January bushfires. Earlier this week I wrote to all tenants and former tenants who lost their homes and informed them of this decision. You will understand that it is important that they know before they hear it on the radio or somewhere else. I know that the decision will be a disappointment of many of them.

The acquisition of 50 additional properties is aimed at easing the housing crisis that already existed before 18 January and was magnified by the loses in the fires. Replacing public housing properties as quickly as possible is a major step on the road to recovery from the bushfire tragedy.

ACT Housing's process to clean up and rebuild properties in urban areas is already under way. At lunchtime I attended the demolition of damaged housing properties in Tanjil Loop at Duffy, where 11 houses were destroyed.

There remain a number of important inquiries that will affect a final decision about whether to rebuild in rural areas, including one by the ACT coroner. These inquiries, we understand, will take quite some time to complete. It would not be responsible for the government to make a decision on rebuilding in rural areas until the outcome of those inquiries is known. There are other factors too.

We are not going to allow the housing situation to worsen while those inquiries are under way, so the government has decided to act immediately and provide the funds to acquire replacement homes in urban areas. The acquisitions will be significantly funded by the insurance payout for the rural properties that is currently being negotiated with the insurers.

If the decision is eventually made to rebuild in rural areas, ACT Housing will do so through its annual stock replacement program. In the meantime, rural tenants must be provided with satisfactory long-term accommodation. They will retain the right to return to the rural areas if homes there are rebuilt. I feel for our rural tenants. I know what their homes and location meant to them. Some of them still have not accepted alternative accommodation through ACT Housing. I would urge them to do so as soon as possible.

As a result of today's announcement, the insurance money for rural properties will not sit idly in the bank but will be used immediately to provide homes for Canberrans affected by the fires.


: Minister, why was this decision made? Why is the insurance not being used to replace the rural properties immediately?

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .