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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3536 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

designed to guide and monitor the progress of the changes outlined in the health plan and to initiate broader debate on health issues.

This council is meant to be the health peak council and is supposed to meet several times a year with the minister and chief executive of health. Minister, can you inform the Assembly of the date this Health Council first met and how many times the council has met in the past 12 months?

MR CORBELL: I have to take some of that question on notice. I do not have the detail of when the council was first formed. I announced the membership of the council earlier this year, and the council has met regularly since that time. To the best of my recollection, the council has met on three or four occasions since it was first formed. In addition, I have met with the council once, and the chief executive of the department meets with the council regularly. I will take the detail points of the question on notice and provide the information to the Assembly.

MRS CROSS: I have a supplementary question. Minister, can you also tell the Assembly how many of the proposals outlined in the health action plan have been implemented and what those proposals are?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I am not sure whether Mrs Cross is asking for a detailed report on every single one. Is that what she is asking for?

Mrs Cross: I thought the answer to the question was pretty straightforward, Simon.

MR CORBELL: Without clarification from the member I cannot answer it.

Housing tenants

MRS BURKE: My question is for the Minister of Housing, Mr Wood. Will the minister explain why the staff of ACT Housing have threatened, and effectively gagged, ACT Housing tenants by warning them not to discuss any matters with either me or the media and saying that otherwise there would be trouble?

MR WOOD: Mrs Burke is fairly free with her words-as I heard earlier today. The stock answer that people get if they say to my office or to officers of ACT Housing, "I will go to the media"or "I will go to the opposition"has long been, "That's your right. You can do that."I have heard that said at various times, and it is the established answer.

We do not gag people on a particular issue, and we recognise that we cannot gag people. In a recent instance an officer did say to someone, "If you tell me about these things, we will be able to do something about it, so keep us informed."That is the advice I have had back from the department. Someone did speak to a resident. The officer stated that he asked the tenant to keep him informed of tenancy and maintenance issues at the same time as any advice might have been going to an MLA or the media. That is the story of it. Housing is generous in the way it deals with people. It is the way they ought to be, and it is the way they are.

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