Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1614 ..
MRS BURKE (continuing):
Of most importance to me as the shadow minister for housing is that every ACT resident, public or private, is afforded the opportunity to live within a neighbourhood where they feel safe and secure and one that is not overridden by antisocial behaviour. This debate is not about the excellent departmental staff doing the very best they can under the current ministerial leadership. It is about the minister and his leadership and direction for this stressed department.
I want the minister to tell me today what he is going to do, firstly, to help tenants work through the anguish, pain and suffering of having to live and deal with those tenants whose lives evolve around crime, drugs or violence and, secondly, what he is going to do to assist those very same people who are living in a downward spiral. This is not about cheap political point scoring, scaremongering or protecting my job. It is about the 11,000 or so public tenancies in the ACT. It is about caring. It is about ensuring that we give the best service and protection we can to every single tenant of ACT Housing properties.
In closing, I again implore the minister to ensure that he abides by his own policy on housing, namely, that ACT residents on low incomes will have the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity-article 11 (1) of the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. I urge the Assembly to support my motion.
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) (11.13): Mrs Burke knows how to be offensive; she really does. Amongst the very first of her words, she said, "Give the department the resources it needs to do its job."
Mr Corbell: That, coming from the Liberal Party.
MR WOOD: From the Liberal Party. How can she say that? I cop it from a couple of people here. I show respect to Ms Tucker and to Ms Dundas when they talk about housing, because they have credibility. I think that almost the first thing Ms Dundas said when she came into the Assembly was about housing. I will be nagged by them. I mightn't like it always, but I have to cop it. But, coming from the Liberals, I will not cop it. When Mrs Burke stands up and says, "Give the department the resources it needs,"she really makes me shake.
Mrs Burke: But you're in control now.
MR WOOD: Thankfully. You asked me at the end of your speech to say what I am going to do. I will throw the challenge back to you. What would you do?
Mrs Burke: I've told you what I want to do. Join me and let's do it together.
MR WOOD: Would you change Liberal policy to stop the downsizing of the public asset? Would you stop Liberal policy on the selling off of public properties, as I have stopped? Would you do that? Instead of the situation we had of public housing stock being nearly 12 per cent of all housing stock in Canberra, you were reducing it to