Page 1793 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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predecessor Mr Wood fully agreed with. We had many discussions about how we would move people through a public housing system, which is there for people who are in greatest need. People in a position to be able to move out of public housing should be given every opportunity to do so, surely. Perhaps, minister, you should be looking at the sensible approach to this crisis in the way your New South Wales counterparts are doing. They are being upfront and honest with people.

What we are seeing in the ACT is not sustainable. We started off with a rather false base of encouraging people to come to Canberra, providing them with public homes and we have never really come to grips with that. I would be happy again to talk to you about how we work through that. Your own asset management strategy will show you that you cannot and do not provide security of tenure for every tenant—I think you will have to watch your words when you look at that—and I do not blame you; I am with you on that. It is an unrealistic and unsustainable position to take and, unfortunately or fortunately, I will not sit by, unlike you at times, minister, and watch our very fine crisis accommodation service providers struggle to provide alternative accommodation. People who can see their way out of the public housing system should be encouraged and assisted wherever possible, as your former minister did, to do so.

You were talking about having an issues-based forum. I suggest that we have had enough talking. You said it yourself, minister—less talk and more action. You have everything at your fingertips. Use it. We are now well into the second term of this government, so you have had two or three years to act upon these recommendations, and I acknowledge that you are slowly—slowly being the operative word—chipping through them. An ever-present dilemma for government is finding the right balance between the provision of all appropriate forms of housing, housing that is not only affordable, but also sustainable. There is much more I could say, but I think we have to say that reconvening a task force at this point in time will not further any action that is required to find forms of housing for people who need assistance in finding affordable housing options.

The opposition supports a bipartisan approach and the distinct need for a longer term affordable housing strategy in the ACT. We will agree to the time frame. We certainly do not agree to the reconvening of the affordable housing task force. We ask the government to get on with it. There are three volumes of books sitting here gathering dust. Let us get a move on, work more expediently to get the recommendations implemented and make sure the frustrations of the community do not continue to build as we have seen, yes, through the media, but also through the debates in this place.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.22): I rise in support of Mr Hargreaves’s amendment. I do not support Dr Foskey’s amendments. I agree with my colleague Mr Hargreaves that we do not have any problems with the reporting time frame. I do not agree with Dr Foskey’s amendments 2 and 3 as I think they are redundant.

The establishment of the affordable housing task force was an important first step in addressing declining levels of housing affordability. We would all agree with that. However, since then the task force has concluded its work and the government has developed strategies that cover the entire spectrum of the housing system, that is, home ownership, private rental market, public and community housing and homelessness. These measures are designed to work together to ensure continuity of assistance across the range of housing needs in the community and will be examined on an ongoing basis.

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