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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1267 ..

Mr Wood: I cannot promise what we will see in the budget.

MS TUCKER: Mr Wood says that he cannot promise what we will see in the budget. I understand that. But I thought the government had said that there would be responses to the affordable housing task force through the budget. Mr Wood shakes his head. That is disappointing. We do not know whether that is going to happen. I was misinformed.

While I support Mr Hargreaves' statement that he welcomes the government's commitment to regularly update and turn over housing stock to meet the changing needs of community, I think the whole of Canberra has to be considered. I am not quite sure what turning over housing stock to meet the changing needs of the community is about. But I want to make it quite clear that I understand that the government supports security of tenure. I asked for that, and it was a recommendation of the Select Committee on the Role of Public Housing. I hope that the turnover Mr Hargreaves refers to does not suggest that security of tenure will not be continued.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Heritage and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.44): I thank Mr Hargreaves for moving this motion and members for contributing to the debate on it. It is pretty clear that members and this Assembly as a whole give a very high priority to housing, acknowledging its core role, as Ms Tucker pointed out, in ensuring the wellbeing of people.

I was much impressed with Mrs Burke, who spent most of her time reading out Labor Party policy. I think it reads extremely well. I listened intently to it. I am sure that Mr Quinlan, the ACT Treasurer, also listened very carefully to our Labor Party policy, which I now emphasise is government policy. That is a point that needs firm emphasis.

Mr Pratt made the relevant point that we need a mix of public housing, government housing, community housing and private housing. That was so well before this government came into being and is part of how things are managed these days. He spoke about the housing complex east of Civic. It goes back to the former government, which started it. Alawa and Bega are prime living. It is a credit to the previous administration and to this administration, which carried it on, that those flats, with air-conditioning and a quite large area for what they are, are prime living. The government is agonising what we need to do with Currong. We are not rushing into a decision on that, but it will have to be made at some stage.

I was interested when Mr Pratt said that as part of his doorknocking through public housing areas in Tuggeranong he found that generally government departments-in this case housing, I assume-were on top of the issues. I thank him for that comment. It encourages me to pick up a point I read in the report Senator Vanstone circulated on housing across Australia. I received a copy today. As I flipped through that-I have not researched it in detail yet-it seemed pretty clear to me on the bottom-line figures that ACT Housing is the best housing manager in Australia. As minister for nearly a year and a half now, I am enormously impressed with the calibre of administration within ACT Housing and broadly within the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services. The housing management we have is outstanding. That needs to be firmly acknowledged. I thank Mr Pratt for his comments.

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