Page 1791 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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I think we are doing some pretty amazing things. But getting together a collective of so-called experts is just a complete and utter waste of time at this stage. Now that we have these structures in place, we need to be evaluating them to see whether they are delivering on the ground and, if they are not, fix them. Then we need to take the answers back to those people affected and say, “How is this working for you?” If they say, “It’s working for us”, well, good. But if they say, “No it’s not,” we modify it again.

It is the same as with wheelchair accessible taxis. I am sick and tired of talking about this. The people that I have convened to look at it, in a very short time frame, are people affected by the problem. They will tell me exactly what they need, and I have to say that we will deliver on it because I am sick and tired of having folks talk about it. We have been talking about it, in and out of government, for too long.

The government will be supporting its own amendments, obviously, but I will happily agree to Dr Foskey’s first amendment, which requires me to provide a report to the Assembly on 30 June. I would prefer to comply with that, rather than “by 30 June”. Quite frankly, that gives me a way of doing it whenever I feel like it. I would rather say to my department, “The Assembly expects it on this date.” That also gives me an opportunity to road test the strategies between now and 30 June, because I have very definite views on this. We will not support Dr Foskey’s amendments 2 and 3.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (4.12): I will be speaking to all the amendments, but I will be making only one speech. To start with Dr Foskey’s amendments, I take on board and welcome the government’s approach. Striking a balance within the ACT in relation to the government offering affordable housing is a complex matter and there is no one single solution. Today I commend Dr Foskey’s valiant attempt to try and move the government to act. However, I would like to take Dr Foskey’s amendment and the minister’s comments one step further.

The affordable housing task force has done its job. The minister has articulately stated that and I think that what Dr Foskey is trying to do is to get the government to act now upon the recommendations. I can see and hear the frustration coming from her office, and we join with that frustration, as the minister well knows. I do not believe there is any need to reinstate a renewed form of the affordable housing task force, as the minister has well put it. It adds another layer. Already I have concerns that we are beginning to see the government moving too far away from where the action is on the frontline, and I applaud the minister for saying he does not want another layer.

We do not want to see the reinstatement in order to see further recommendations collated and compiled into yet another set of reports for the government to consider, digest and then perhaps implement some further recommendations placed before it. Public debate certainly needs to continue. We do have a current government that is, unfortunately, renowned for delays. What we need is action, outputs and better management of the asset, and I have been on the public record as stating that. It is an asset worth, as I understand it, on recent revised figures, some $2.9 billion.

Dr Foskey made some comments in her anxiety, I suppose, to see something happen. I have been banging this drum for two years or more. She wants a genuine attempt to find a way forward. The opposition agrees with her. She calls on the government to do

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