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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 3264 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

both through our training institutions and in our hospitals to develop the specialist skills that our health system needs across the country.

MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question. Thank you, Minister, for that response, but why have you failed to implement a time-out unit or other suitable facility in the ACT, given that there is such a clear need for one in the ACT?

MR CORBELL: I cannot see how that relates to staff shortages, Mr Speaker, but I have to answer the question. Regardless of what sort of building you build, you still need staff. You still need the people to run the facility. That is the key issue that all governments have struggled to address. Unlike my predecessor-before Mr Stanhope-Mr Moore, who opened a facility without staff, we will not be doing that.

Kingston foreshore development-public housing

MS TUCKER: My question is to the minister for housing and is in regard to public housing at Kingston foreshore. Minister, you would recall that you are on the public record as being in support of a proportion of the ACT government's Kingston foreshore development being devoted to public or affordable housing. You may also be interested to know that, in a reply to a letter from me, the Treasurer has conceded that there are many ways of raising funds to pay for public housing if government chooses to make it a priority.

However, it has been reported to me by a constituent that ACT Housing turned down an opportunity to take up an offer of public housing from the Kingston Foreshore Development Authority. Can you confirm whether this is the case and, if so, explain why? If it is not the case, what measures will you take to ensure that public housing is structured into the development from now on?

MR WOOD: We have not, at this stage, acquired any properties at Kingston foreshore. It has proved very difficult, not least because of the prices that are part of the buying-in process. It has been beyond our willingness to pay those prices. I do not know of the particular instance that you referred to but, in general, it is really beyond our pocket and our willingness to pay.

MS TUCKER: I would like an answer to the question about whether ACT Housing did turn down an offer and I would ask you to get back to me on that. My supplementary question is: what is to prevent ACT Housing from increasing stock by accessing the $40 million in the ACT home loan portfolio, which is managed by Treasury for the commissioner, as identified in the Public housing asset management strategy 2003-2008, tabled yesterday?

MR WOOD: I will find that information specifically. If you can give me a name or something to help, that would be useful. As for the home loan portfolio, yes, I have designs on that. It is a useful resource and we have to see how best we can use it. However, even using that, the basic principle still applies: the cost is prohibitive.

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