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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3360 ..

MR WOOD: Mrs Cross mentioned she'd had a call from one constituent.

Mrs Cross: I've had a few, actually. This is a particular one.

MR WOOD: Quite a few. You said "one". I wouldn't want to extrapolate from one call or a couple of calls what the situation might be over the whole of our public housing tenancy.

ACT Housing has been taking big steps in recent months, in the last year or so, to make personal contact with all its tenants. I tabled in this place another example of that contact when I tabled the asset management strategy last week. In that strategy, over the next period, the maintenance contractors will visit every house on the list and assess its needs.

Mrs Cross: How often?

MR WOOD: They'll do the initial assessment; that's what I'm talking about at the moment. They'll do the initial assessment of the needs so that the total picture of what the maintenance needs are can be understood.

Notwithstanding that-I think I am correct in saying this-there should be an inspection every year. I know that that is not always the case, because of the heavy workloads. But certainly the regime at ACT Housing is now to have much more personal contact with its tenants.

You've indicated that someone had been on a promise from seven years ago. I don't know what that promise was; I don't know the specifics of the case you raise. It is certainly the case that, when someone makes a claim, it's assessed and then there's a determination whether that needs some priority or whether it goes into the routine maintenance and what the circumstances are.

As I've explained before, and as the asset management strategy spells out very clearly, there is no doubt that there is a difficulty in providing maintenance for all the buildings that we have. We work assiduously at it, to do the best we can, increasingly, to maintain contact with our tenants.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Cross?

MRS CROSS: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, Tenant of the Month is a positive policy for only one tenant. Why doesn't ACT Housing reward its good, valued tenants who never complain, with spontaneous upgrades of antiquated appliances or some other concrete, demonstrative show of appreciation?

MR WOOD: I think "spontaneous"would cause a problem. The spontaneous is simply not always possible. Urgent cases are done immediately; there's no question about that. There is a whole range of priorities listed, but I have to point you to the difficulties in meeting all maintenance requests. It is a major problem for ACT Housing.

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