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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 1348 ..

MR WOOD: I do not want to be drawn into going into the details that I have about the measures in this case. I will tell you what the Residential Tenancy Tribunal said, because that is in a public document. This comes at the very end of it and, before I cite that, I will indicate that, at the end stage of this process, although ACT Housing has instigated it and worked it through, it becomes a legal matter. It is legal. It goes before the tribunal, which is a court.

The capacity for ACT Housing to manipulate the system at that stage is practically nil. In fact, when we've tried to do that on occasions that some other members know about, we have made the tribunal very unhappy. At the end stage, people should realise that it is a legal process that can be quite firm.

In this case, to answer your question, the residential tribunal determined that the tenant is not likely to pay her rent in arrears. All sorts of measures would have been offered. That is the sad circumstance. I wish it wouldn't happen on any occasion, whether it is to some single young bloke who might be able to wander around a bit, or whether it is to a person with a family. These tenancies-

Mrs Burke: Why was it allowed to get this far?

Mr Cornwell: How early is early intervention, Minister?

MR WOOD: The computer system recognises a tenant's rent account as falling into arrears when it is a figure of more than $20, and this would go back to late last year, I believe. That is the timeframe.

Mrs Burke: So you let a debt roll on and on, to the point where a person is going to be kicked out of her home tomorrow?

MR WOOD: No, wait a minute. I know you care about it, Mrs Burke, and I understand where you come from. However, there are two sides in this, Mrs Burke. The process is put in place, it rolls on, and at many points in that process the opportunities are there for tenants to get their act together, to maybe get assistance from somewhere, to get advice and the best help that can be managed.

It is a long, indeed tortuous, process before that end result when the tribunal says, "That is it."I am absolutely confident, I know, that ACT Housing puts effort into trying to prevent these cases. The contacts are made at all times. I do not know what the circumstances are-well, I do know some of the circumstances in this case-but ACT Housing is out there proactively trying to prevent this.

Mr Cornwell: Are you going to table your document, Minister?

MR WOOD: Yes, by all means. Most members would have a more complicated one than this, but I will table Debt recovery processes and legal action utilised by ACT Housing.

MRS BURKE: I thank the minister for that and I will look forward to looking at the tabled document. I am concerned, however, and perhaps you could answer this question:

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