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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4664 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

prefer not to move but accepted that there was a strong possibility that they might have to; and only 8 per cent of respondents were unwilling to move.

Unsurprisingly, these views were closely correlated with the tenants' satisfaction with the complex, including the interior of their apartments and concerns about the complex as a whole. Respondents to the survey were most positive about the apartments' aspect, view, proximity to Civic and its facilities and least positive about the complex's poor condition, noise and drugs.

A number of questions were asked about the Currong community. Sixty-four per cent of respondents had not been to any community activities organised at the complex but 88 per cent were friendly with other tenants and talked to them at least once or twice a week. Seventy-two per cent have friends or family who visit them at Currong but there was a level of concern about this aspect, with 40 per cent of the respondents mentioning visitors concerns for their personal safety, the condition and reliability of the lifts and the unpleasant atmosphere and drug culture.

Mr Speaker, respondents indicated that alternative accommodation would need to have a sunny aspect, be close to shops or a bus route, have good quality kitchens and bathrooms and private outdoor space. Other aspects rated as important by significant numbers of tenants were a larger flat, private laundry, the opportunity of ground floor accommodation and smaller complexes. The survey also found that, for many of the older and longer term residents, an apartment in easy reach of the city would be important to minimise any sense of dislocation felt by this group. The government's decision responds to these concerns.

Given the high turnover in the complex, many of the tenants would have moved out in the next 12 months. The on-site relocation team is working with all tenants to find suitable alternative accommodation to meet their individual needs. Tenants have been advised that they will have the opportunity to relocate with their friends to the four new complexes being built in Turner and Braddon, if this is their wish. However, tenants who would prefer to relocate out of the inner north will also be catered for. The survey has demonstrated that there are other ways of meeting the long-term needs of existing tenants without the large investment in refurbishment, which just could not be justified.

The government remains committed to attempting to retain the maximum numbers of social housing properties. However, it needs to be emphasised that there was no decision available which did not involve at least a short-term reduction in stock to meet the costs of either refurbishment or replacement of the complex.

I understand the concerns that Ms Tucker has raised and that have been expressed by a few people in this place today, but I would urge the Assembly to keep in mind that if her motion is passed it will mean continued uncertainty for these tenants. Mr Speaker, that would be much, much worse than the prospect of relocation.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74, and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2.30 pm.

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