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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1611 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

Sadly, my motion today goes to more serious matters than maintenance. I have received a steadily increasing number of complaints, ranging from drug and alcohol-related crime, car theft, the injection of an illicit substance into a non-user resident mother against her will and bashing by another party while her child was present, frequent night-time explosions, loud and profane language during sleeping hours, vandalism, verbal and violent abuse by problem tenants of other tenants, including rape and bashings, child abuse, break and enter, armed robbery, crime networks operating between complexes, and so the list goes on.

All those complaints are coming from people who say that they have exponentially increased since Labor came to government. Minister, this is just the tip of the iceberg. As one tenant told me, the result of all this is that, aside from the human tragedy, the community as a whole pays the recovery price.

Contrary to the minister's recent reference to me as a member who projects all ACT Housing tenants as people who create disturbances and act in a manner contrary to their obligations to their tenancy agreements, I would like the Assembly to know for the record that I believe that the vast majority of ACT Housing tenants are law abiding and considerate members of the community who are very conscious of their rights and obligations under their agreements and live accordingly.

This is not about these people. If the minister were true to himself, he would acknowledge that the case I was making was not about them at all. The response by the minister for housing and police, Mr Wood, to my recent attack on the crime and drugs problem within many of our ACT Housing properties by a minority of tenants makes very clear that he is in denial over the real problems faced in ACT public housing dwellings and surrounding neighbourhoods.

Mr Wood claimed on WIN TV on 5 May 2003, "Yes, there are a few who create a problem."Exactly, Minister; just my point. Only a few are spoiling it for the rest of the many excellent tenants in the ACT. As the tenant of the month program bears witness to, we have very many good, law-abiding and responsible tenants who simply want to enjoy the peace and quiet of their own home, but are prevented from doing so by a minority antisocial element who rule with a reign of terror.

That is not an acceptable situation and the minister must address the problem before we witness tenants taking matters into their own hands. Believe you me, Mr Deputy Speaker, many are at this breaking point right now. I call on this minister and his government to clean up the unsavoury element in public housing to allow every tenant to feel safe and secure in their home and surroundings. That is not an option; it is a requirement of landlords. As such, the ACT government has a duty of care to these tenants that it is not currently abiding by.

Does the minister want to be accused of being a slum landlord? I think not. Minister, I am disappointed that you would let your department down in this way. Immense and extreme pressures are being brought to bear on some extraordinary people within your department. I understand that there is a problem with the regular turnover of staff and that, out of a specialist team of five, at one time three of those people were on stress

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