Page 260 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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MR SPEAKER: Hang on a minute, Mr Hargreaves. Mrs Burke seems to think you may have misunderstood the question.

Mrs Burke: He did. I asked: what is the minister going to do to assure those most vulnerable in our society that they will not be left in the lurch over the Christmas period—and to quash any rumours circulating in the community?

MR HARGREAVES: I will address some of the rumours that I suppose have been circulating around the community and that have been perpetrated by Mrs Burke. I have not had the same feedback she has had, so I imagine one or two people have flooded into her office in the past couple of months saying, “Woe, woe; doom is here; woe; doom!” The answer to that is very simple—we are going to do two things: first, we are going to rejoice in the fact that the people of the ACT returned a Stanhope Labor government to look after community housing issues instead of risking it with that lot over there.

Second, I can tell you that clearly Mrs Burke has not seen the community housing future directions policy framework, which outlines the ACT’s policy directions for expanding community housing and supporting the viability and sustainability of the community housing sector. She has not gone to the trouble of reading it. No, what she does is bolt out there into the community, frightening everybody to death—and those couple of people who flood into her office on a monthly basis believe her.

Mr Smyth: They are already scared by you!

MR HARGREAVES: Well, more fool them for believing you!

Mrs Burke: You put the word out: deny it or confirm it.

MR HARGREAVES: More fool them for believing you! Mr Speaker, if she had taken the trouble to read her budget documents, she would have seen that in 2003-04, there was a further $3 million put into the third appropriation.

Ms MacDonald: Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order—standing order 37. The constant interjections from Mrs Burke are getting to the point of no return. She really must desist from interjecting.

MR SPEAKER: I agree with that. Mrs Burke: cease the interjections. If you persist with your interjections, I will proceed further with the matter.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mrs Burke has not bothered to read the appropriation bills—and I am sure she has trouble because they have numbers in them. The problem with it is this: there is another $3 million to be expended in 2004-05; $7 million of the third appropriation for 2004 was allocated to the purchase of properties for head-leasing back into community organisations; there was $1.2 million over four years for funding and feasibility studies; and in 2004-05 $450,000 was allocated to supporting sector development activities.

That does not sound to me as if we are abandoning anybody; it sounds to me like we are putting money into it. We are backing up our support for people who need housing—

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