Page 1871 - Week 06 - Thursday, 5 May 2005

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are published with a caveat in relation to their statistical viability. They talk about a degree of “standard error”—that’s statistical talk, Brendan—and say that there is a wide range of standard error that might occur within those statistics. They did show with all the warnings that there had been a decline in the number of home-based businesses in the ACT. Well, guess what? Of course, there has been a further report and what we now see, according to these statistics, is an increase in home-based businesses. I do not think they should necessarily be taken at their word but Mr Smyth does—insisted on it—and did the school yard equivalent of a tizz, tizz, tizz for a couple of days in this place.

Those figures show an increase of 3,500 businesses over the last year but that, of course, is coming off the very low base. But Mr Smyth rushed out to the public, ignoring the warnings of the Australian Bureau of Statistics because they did not suit, with the typical selective use of facts and data, as opposed to the facts. It is important, when you look at the figures from 1995 onwards, to note the increasing rate of business development. In the line of best fit, you will see, in recent years, a dramatic increase in the number of small businesses in the ACT—not with the raw statistics, because there are caveats on those; and caveat is in the dictionary—and that there has been continued growth of small and micro businesses in the ACT.

I am really surprised that Mr Smyth did not put out a press release on the improvement and say, “This is good.” He could have found an excuse for it: he could say that he did it before or that he set up the fundamentals or something but, no, somehow he missed it all together. Typically, over the next few days of debate in this place, bad news will be selectively used whenever possible. I warn those of you with open minds to be careful of the numbers and the predictions you will hear in the debates in this place in the next few sitting days.

Public housing

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, on ABC radio this morning you confirmed the ALP’s election 2004 promise to expand the stock of public housing by injecting capital funds of $10 million per year for the next three years. You also said that these figures were announced in last year’s budget and that they appeared in the outyears. Is this promised additional funding appropriated or non-appropriated new works? Why has it not appeared in the 2005-06 budget papers?

MR HARGREAVES: I think the Treasurer has just alluded to the way in which the opposition selectively pulls out figures and just uses them. They never ever come up with a complete picture. It is true that $52 million will be spent on housing in the 2005-06 year. It is true that there is $117 million recurrent in housing ACT. It is also true that we are changing the nature of dwelling purchases from the standard three-bedroom house on a quarter-acre block, which used to be the case, to now trying to do best fit for people.

There are people who require multiunit dwellings around town centres. It is true that we have introduced a whole range of crisis accommodation services. We have supported the crisis/emergency accommodation service and we have included support for the YWCA to undertake some crisis accommodation for families.

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