Page 1400 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 April 2005

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I have to say that there is no longer any fluidity in the ACT public housing system. Those who are in definite need, who are sitting on the never-ending waiting list, will continue to wait unless the minister makes some tough decisions and realigns public policy in relation to housing into line with how the market actually operates. It is important that the government investigates the merit of income review of housing ACT tenants.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Burke, I ordered you to remain relevant. You ought to confine your remarks to the bill which is before the house.

MRS BURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Again, I believe I am being relevant. I think we have to get these things into context. Dr Foskey is talking about public housing and the 4 per cent: I think I am being quite relevant. Public housing waiting lists are on the rise, and the demand for crisis accommodation services is spiralling out of control. There is apparent land banking occurring in the ACT. People trying to secure any form of housing are finding it very difficult. After all, as it currently stands, if an applicant is now seeking to enter public housing, the household income must not exceed approximately $40,000 per annum. In summary—

Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I again rise on a point of order.

MRS BURKE: There is no point of order. I am closing, Mr Corbell, if you will give me a chance.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, I would have to say, in listening to Mrs Burke’s comments there, that she was actually supporting the bill, because she was talking about—

MR CORBELL: On my point of order, Mrs Burke continues with a critique of government housing policy that is a separate matter from the legislation which is before this place. Indeed, the majority of Mrs Burke’s speech has been a critique of government housing policy. The government has no difficulty with having a debate about its housing policy, but this is not the forum for that. Mrs Burke has consistently failed to abide by your requests this morning to remain relevant. I think she should either do that now, or you should instruct her to conclude her comments.

MR SPEAKER: I was listening closely, Mr Corbell—some of her comments sounded as if they were in support of the Greens’ bill. I am still listening closely, and Mrs Burke will remain relevant. If she is not relevant, she will be ordered to resume her seat.

MRS BURKE: It is obviously a very delicate matter, and a delicate subject that the Minister for Planning did not want to hear. I believe I was being relevant, bringing into context the fact that the Greens’ bill does talk about public housing. I was trying to suggest that we do not need more properties to be freed up, or property developers to be hamstrung in their investments in this city; moreover, that we do need to investigate—rather than using this bill as a way of getting people into housing—the management of the government in its asset management of public housing in the ACT. The Liberal opposition—and I being one of those—will not be supporting the Greens’ bill today.

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