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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1626 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

community. You can have a dispute between two neighbours in the private sector. But, and this is the difference, those in the private sector may have recourse ultimately to law. ACT Housing, however, has a responsibility to its tenants which the private sector does not. That is the difference.

Mr Wood: We have a greater responsibility, I'd maintain.

MR CORNWELL: Thank you. I accept the minister's interjection that ACT Housing has a greater responsibility. All that Mrs Burke is asking in her motion is for that responsibility to be accepted and that something be done to correct the problems caused by this infinitesimal group of Housing Trust tenants who are making life very unpleasant for their Housing Trust tenant colleagues or neighbours. I do not believe that that is an unreasonable request and I commend Ms Tucker's remarks that other ministers may have to be involved in sorting out these problems.

MRS BURKE (12.03), in reply: In closing, Mr Speaker, I probably need to say that it seems as though I have pushed the minister's button. He has a difficult job there. There needs to be a whole-of-community and whole-of-government approach. We do need to work together more. Never at any time have I said that we do not need to work together. It is not about us and them; we need to pull together.

Mr Wood, who is becoming very adept at putting words in people's mouths, particularly mine, said that that is a very dangerous thing to do in this place. In so doing, you unwittingly or otherwise implicate your own departmental staff and they, as you have told me, are unable to defend themselves. I suggest that you not make a habit of that because you need to listen to what I say, too.

Mr Hargreaves says that ACT Housing is like a real estate company and it should act like one. That's right. I think we need to lift the image to reduce the stigma and stereotyping. We need to be sure that we do act like one. That is what my motion is calling for. We need to work even closer with our tenants than we do now. You would obviously say that that was a positive thing, not a negative thing, to say, Mr Wood.

Mr Hargreaves mentioned, as did Ms Tucker, the language of the motion and my speech. There were strong words, and I do not resile from that. We have to bring the issues out into the open. I am sure that the minister would not just sit back and do nothing if the boot were on the other foot, so to speak. I saw seen him do otherwise fairly much on this side of the house when I was last in this place.

I do not believe that I have at any time ever offended any ACT Housing tenant in the way that Mr Wood is making out. I think that it is fairly preposterous for him to have that notion and say those things. I am not that type of person and I would not ever use public housing tenants in that way. I always have supported and always will continue to support those people in less than fortunate circumstances in life. Allow me to put on the record that, having started my life in a public house in England, I am well aware of the issues facing people wishing to get out of that spiral.

I said that those people who were faced with some challenges in life need extra support and help. Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas have alluded to that, too. I heartily agree

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