Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2377 ..
I do not believe we are providing the department with the resources it needs. It is my understanding that we have many good people in our department. However, we seem to be top heavy in management, and people at lower levels are getting stressed out, with A not talking to B. I do not see money in the budget to address some of the practical things that would help to ease the needs of our clients-our tenants. That is one area where I believe this government does not meet the needs of the people out there.
I understand that some half a million dollars has been spent on staff retraining and upskilling of the specialist housing people. That is commendable. I know the company well, and they will do an excellent job. That will certainly help, but really, Minister, half a million dollars is not enough of a commitment to staff training. Maybe there is some built-in money you can tell me about which I have not picked up on. I would appreciate that information.
We must equip our public servants within housing sufficiently to deal with the changing and complex needs of many of our valued tenants. We face special and different needs from those we faced two years ago, 18 months ago, or even five years ago. Hence, we should be looking at the way human resources are being used.
I do not believe this government is meeting many of the objectives in a targeted and strategic manner. We need a coordinated approach. This budget is a bit thematic. I see running through this budget a cross-departmental approach, which is commendable. We need to make sure that A talks to B. We must make sure that this minister drives that, and that he does not take a back seat. He must take a leadership role in that area to make sure it happens. The objectives need to be addressed, as a matter of urgency.
I would suggest that, whilst many of these people are on low incomes, they are not stupid. Many people feel as though they are being pushed from pillar to post. Is there a human resource problem, Minister? Do you have sufficient resources within the department to enable it to deal with these people in a humane and expedient way?
We must ensure that, with good rent-paying tenants, we are facing up to all our responsibilities as landlords. We need to be making sure our tenants get the best level of service from us as landlords. Mr Wood and Mr Stanhope, that does not include inducing, by the patronising handout of a scratchy ticket, our tenants' participation in a measure to find out how they feel about their future and where they live. I know you found that highly amusing. However, if you thought deeply about it, you would fully understand my sentiment and where I am coming from.
MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired. Would you like to speak for another 10 minutes?
MRS BURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am not a party pooper-I do not want to spoil anybody's fun. Nevertheless, I feel that was an irresponsible way of doing it, given that there are more and more cases coming to light of people who were concerned about what happened there. It is a pity that this government will not come clean and tell the people about the future of the Currong Apartments. You probably know what you are going to do, and I do not think anybody would slate you for the decision you make.