Page 1349 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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next month, I am quite sure. So we have to make sure that what we have is being used as well as it can be.

One potential outcome for staff in the department from this approach could be an increase in job satisfaction as people become familiar with a range of services and programs that are required to respond to people in public housing, which, of course, would lead to greater efficiency and, we would hope, an increase in the level of satisfaction among Housing ACT tenants. At the same time, it is essential that the rotation of people through different jobs does not result in an unnecessary loss either of corporate memory or of a capacity to deal with the range of issues that arise in public housing.

We are aware of what we would describe as the “churn” of housing managers, which is of great concern to us, to the tenants and, indeed, to the managers themselves. These managers are the key people in the lives of many public housing tenants. It is not reasonable to expect tenants to have to establish relationships with different managers too frequently. That impacts adversely on the quality of life of the tenants and it means that a new manager has to learn about all the issues associated with those tenants.

There are better ways to use our resources than by changing managers too frequently. We believe that it is important that the management of these managers themselves enhances their important roles with public housing tenants, not make it more difficult. Indeed, there may be a sound case to consider expanding the role of these managers so that they are able to provide tenants with timely and appropriate management, assistance and advice.

It is evident that there have been significant problems experienced by tenants in public housing in the ACT. There will always be some problems; that is self-evident—we are dealing with people, after all. Our purpose in raising this matter today, however, is to highlight the decline in service delivery for public housing tenants and to suggest some ways in which this decline can be turned around. To achieve a turnaround may require existing resources to be used differently, for staff to do things differently and for different public agencies to work together in perhaps more cooperative and better ways.

Housing ACT has a challenge before it: to balance the needs of public housing tenants in terms of satisfying maintenance requirements, minimising disturbance of the social environment and amenity, and resolving neighbourhood disputes. It also has the challenge of seeking to reduce the number of people who are on the waiting list as well as the transfer list while, at the same time, seeking to offer the optimal mix of public housing dwellings across the ACT in terms of such parameters as design, size and location of dwellings and of the nature of multiple dwelling sites.

I have outlined a number of issues relating to the decline in the delivery of services to public housing tenants in the ACT. My colleagues will add further instances of this decline and will suggest some responses during debate on the matter. I wish to conclude by emphasising that the decline in service delivery for public housing tenants is not satisfactory. It must be appreciated that whatever experiences public housing tenants currently enjoy—whether it is crime, including drug-related crime, issues relating to the inappropriate location of a person with a mental health issue, or physical and verbal

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