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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 982 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

on their tenancy was transferred to the new accommodation. That is only fair and reasonable. I am not sure every private tenant was able to exercise the same privilege.

Tenants moved to alternative government properties were charged rent on their new and different accommodation. In fact, I think one of the houses was brand new, so there might have been a bit more market rent. As I have said, that is balanced by rebates if someone is on a high income. However, they were charged rent from the date of occupation.

As I said, tenants are normally required to pay two weeks in advance but this requirement was deferred after the fires for those in genuine financial difficulties. That is where I say Mrs Burke's case does not add up. Public housing tenants do not have to pay bond money, which is another advantage they have over private tenants. So over and over again you can see the advantage that public housing tenants have.

I wish we could do something about the broad housing problem overall, so we could reduce the rents of those poor people-poor in terms of having to pay so much-in private tenancies. I say again that if there was a little arrears on the rent and there was financial difficulty, the two weeks in advance was waived.

Public housing tenants are also protected by the provisions of the program should their household income fall. For example, if a public housing tenant on full market rent lost their job, their rent would be adjusted. So it would come back to paying no more than 25 per cent. You do not get that with private tenancies.

I say again: if Mrs Burke has details of cases where tenants feel they have genuinely been disadvantaged, please contact my office. One case-and I am not sure it did come into my office-is not an argument for supporting the motion. (Extension of time granted.) One case does not justify the motion.

About 82 per cent of ACT Housing tenants receive a rental rebate. Those who do not receive a rebate pay the full market rent for their home or, as I have said, 25 per cent, whichever is less. Housing tenants relocated because of the fire who were on rebates continue to pay the same rent. In some cases the rent of housing tenants who were relocated because of bushfires has gone up but this has occurred only where the gross household income has been at such a level that a rental rebate is not available and full market rent applies.

The people Mrs Burke wants to help are those-I am not saying they are fabulously wealthy-on higher incomes. I do not have a problem with that. I acted to see that they stayed in those houses and that they are not required to leave. I think the system we have in place is absolutely fair.

ACT Housing uses a rental system that is fair and equitable. What is proposed in this motion is not fair and is not equitable, especially to those in the rental market. I emphasise for the fifth or sixth time that the case for the motion, based on one dubious example, simply has not been made.

MR STEFANIAK (6.20): Mr Wood has probably missed the point a bit in the comments he made about Mrs Burke's motion. I have to correct him on one thing: he

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