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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 4617 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

We, the territory, are now cash rich-cash rich enough to start building; let's see some building.

I have serious concerns over the position of aged persons living in accommodation now quite unacceptable within our community, in particular in some ACT Housing properties. Not that there is anything wrong with the properties, you understand, but it is just the nature of the way that they are in relation to these aged people.

Many elderly people do not and will not make noise. They come from a different generation-a generation that will not complain. Many elderly people-especially, but not specifically, those living in multiunit public housing complexes-are having to deal with increasing noise levels due to young people wanting to do what young people do, and that is party all night and play loud music.

Loud music is one thing that causes distress. We seem to have an increasing problem with noisy pets also. I would hope that if the minister is listening he is ensuring that tenants are abiding fully with their tenancy agreements, particularly in relation to noisy barking dogs and so forth.

Loud noise from music and pets pales into insignificance when you have elderly people afraid to step outside in their homes. They fear for their personal safety. It is sad, Mr Deputy Speaker, that we do have a government that is soft on crime. We have elderly people now prisoners in their own homes. They should be in more suitable accommodation. It could be our grandparents; it could be our parents. I am most disappointed that this government is dragging its feet, despite what the minister keeps standing up and saying and the rhetoric we hear about this, that and the other.

Why is our minister continuing to play petty politics blaming the Commonwealth, blaming the former government, blaming this, blaming that? Who is he thinking about? Is he thinking about his own political future? We are waiting for decisions on many projects to begin; things are in the pipeline. Many sites are still to be decided on-places, beds, roofs over people's heads. Perhaps if this government did get on with the program we might attract more people into these new state-of-the-art facilities.

Much has been mentioned about the national problem of not being able to get and secure staff. Mr Corbell tells us that we now have a wonderful planning regime. Why the delay? It is time we paid some respect to our elders and stopped playing with people's emotions. Again, one wonders whether this government really does care. As the Chief Minister and the planning minister himself clearly articulated, we are seeing a rapidly ageing population. Please tell us something that we do not know. This was identified in many serious studies undertaken on this topic well over two years ago. This is not something new that has happened all of a sudden.

This government has simply sat on its hands, blamed the Commonwealth, and done little to nothing to alleviate the crisis in terms of buildings being erected. To make excuses is not acceptable any more. Two years into government we would have thought at least some of these facilities would have erected and people living in them.

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