Page 166 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 8 December 2004
regular meetings to discuss their participation in both policy and operational aspects of the public housing system.
A joint champions group, comprising tenants and Housing ACT staff, has also met regularly over recent months to discuss ways of working together more effectively to achieve better outcomes for tenants and staff.
Tenant participation is absolutely essential to building and maintaining a mutually beneficial and respectful environment between tenant and landlord. If the government and the housing community are to work well together, we are dependent on this invaluable feedback from tenants to make sure that the services we are delivering are on track. This work is being undertaken to achieve a very important overall goal: to establish a culture of tenant participation.
To me, what ‘establishing a culture of tenant participation’ means, in a practical sense, is a consideration of tenant participation as a regular part of what we do on a daily basis—both from the perspective of tenants and those delivering services to them. The experience of other housing authorities has shown that tenant involvement in the very things that affect their lives is critical to building and maintaining a mutually beneficial and respectful environment between tenant and landlord.
It is also shown that there are significant dividends for both tenants and government in doing so. What are the benefits we anticipate for tenants? They are numerous, including the opportunity to contribute to the decision-making process. It also provides a way in which tenants can build community involvement and assist each other to establish and maintain links within their community.
Through tenant participation, tenants have the opportunity to meet new people and gain new skills. All these things contribute to sustaining tenancies. The establishment of a tenant participation model in the ACT will have equal benefits for government and my department, including improvements in customer services and increased customer satisfaction, and improvements in the way resources—both financial and human—are allocated.
The project will have tangible benefits, but the less tangible are possibly more important. What tenant participation really means is a whole new way of working together, ushering in a whole new way of doing business, where the government is listening to tenants.
The ACT government and the department recognise that tenants can be the best source of advice and information on operational and policy issues.
Mrs Burke: What are you going to do about the existing process? What about what’s happening now?
MR HARGREAVES: The last thing they want to do is listen to anything Mrs Burke has to say. As an organisation that delivers services to clients, it is important that the department understands the needs of clients and endeavours to match those services to their needs.