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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1752 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

that should be available to ACT seniors health card holders? By the way, this is a denial they also share with ACT pensioners. The response to those questions is a resounding no. Why does this Labor government deny these builders of this city some comfort in their old age just because they have been responsible and provident, as best they could, in providing for their own retirement?

The final insult to the aged is the government's failure to pick up a licence for 65 aged care places at Calvary Hospital. These were given to the hospital by the Commonwealth government, but nobody in this ACT government has given permission for the facility to be built to house these desperately needed beds. This denial has lasted 18 months and, even if planning permission were given tomorrow, another 18 months would elapse before completion. Labor will have denied at least 65 of our aged people access to beds for three years.

Ms MacDonald: That's a result of-


: Order, members! Mr Cornwell has the floor.

MR CORNWELL: They don't want to listen, I suspect, Mr Speaker. The three-year period, of course, is significant. There is even-this is a popular word these days-a synergy, because three years will, in October next year, be the earliest that 65 aged people can move in and three years, again in October next year, is when this Labor government should be moved out. I commend my speech to an unlistening and unresponsive Labor Party.

MRS BURKE (4:58): Obviously, we are all getting a little weary, particularly those opposite, of all the number crunching. Just like a true trooper, I have some more.

Mr Speaker, nowhere is it more obvious in this budget than in public and community housing that the community has the advantage of seeing so much more money available and so much less delivered. The minister for housing, a Labor minister at that, is presiding over the demise of public housing in this territory. I know that it is not earthquake-style damage, but it is the death of a thousand cuts, slow and torturous.

What is more fundamental to this minister's responsibility than ensuring that he maintain and grow public housing? While the size of this community increases, the percentage of public housing stock in real terms reduces. In fact, it is worse than that: the raw number of public and community housing tenancies has reduced. There are targets for the slightest increase over the expected outcome, but they are still below the targets from last year. This minister does not even pretend to match last year's goals.

There is increased money over last year's budget. Last year, the budget for public housing services and policy was identified at output 1.1 as $90.914 million.

At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MRS BURKE: This year, the government is prepared to spend $98.537 million. That is a substantial increase over last year's budget and is to be commended. It is in the order of

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