Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4657 ..
MRS BURKE (continuing):
It is extremely disappointing that the minister chose to make the announcement or the decision when he did, given the impact of the bushfires on housing stock. Had the minister been more open with the Canberra community, as I have been asking for months for him to be, we might have understood his reasons. Having now made that decision, however, I now believe that it is appropriate to continue with the course of action.
Mr Speaker, this is not about me giving up the fight to address the housing plight of human beings but about being practical and weighing and balancing up all the time the difficult decisions that we have to make. The minister needs to add back more stock. Whatever it takes, we need him to expedite the addition of more properties and buildings.
There should have been greater thought given to timing but I believe any change would now pose a significant problem to the tenants. There would be considerable stress and confusion to the many tenants who have now geared themselves to being rehoused over the coming months. I notice that, of 52 per cent of people that responded to a survey that was conducted, 58 per cent are happy and agreeable to move.
The challenge for any government is to keep and maintain stock. This will become an increasingly tougher challenge, not only for this government but for future governments, as much of our housing stock increases in age and becomes non-compliant with current building codes of practice. However, wherever possible and it is safe to do so, we must preserve stock. My concerns about Currong are centred around the poor process to date. But, again, the safety of people within those apartments has to be at the forefront of anybody's mind.
I am a little uncertain of what Ms Tucker means about not moving out residents who prefer to stay at Currong apartments. She talked about there being a delay in the timing. You cannot build people's hopes up by saying they are now going to be able to stay, and then crush those hopes. It is disappointing that the decision has been made, and there is a whole debate for another day as to whether it would have been worth spending the money, et cetera. We have told people now, the decision has been made, and we need to move forward.
I also understand the frustrations of this housing minister and his experiences in trying to work in a cooperative and cohesive way with the planning minister. I understand that that has posed some difficulties in the rebuilding of stock in other places. I am not sure about the details of that-maybe he can tell us himself.
Mr Wood: Not at all.
MRS BURKE: That is not what you said to me, Mr Wood. There have been some difficulties with planning, and we all know that.
Mr Speaker, as I have said, I have been concerned with the way in which the government has approached the issue of the future of the apartments. Let us look at some of the process. I believe, from talking to, listening to and gaining feedback from many tenants, that the survey was couched in such a way that the answers given could only really eventuate in the closing down of Currong and the rehousing of tenants over a 12-month