Page 2601 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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talking about the private market in that way. They are more and more, day by day, leaving the sector and thereby removing a valuable housing alternative for people.

When politicians seek to be re-elected, primary focus is placed on convincing their constituency, through their party, that they will seek to deliver on promises made when government is formed. Commitments are taken to the decision-making table to be delivered on. This government clearly displays that it had not thought through some of its major election announcements. One of those is the $10 million each year for three years to inject funds into capital works for public housing. This government would have the Assembly and, more disturbingly, the people of Canberra believe that they had that election commitment of $30 million over three years independently costed before making such an announcement leading everyone into a false sense of security that, miraculously, they had found a pot of gold for capital injection into housing.

The minister indicated during the estimates hearing process that the issue—the $10 million for public housing—is “open for revisiting in every financial year thereafter”. The minister was unable to convince his colleagues that the $10 million for capital injection into public housing stock was needed, even though the ALP went to the last election on this promise. What a furphy! You sucked a lot of people in, didn’t you? And they all voted for you. I am sure the people of the ACT took this commitment as a sign of good faith. How atrocious—“Here we go, let’s dangle the $10 million carrot.” “Oh, look, aren’t we good: we have a good social conscience.” That is disgraceful.

Indeed, some community organisations took this commitment as a sign that the ALP was able to find the necessary funds to invest in public housing. It was a good notion and people believed it; people were sucked in by it. It was the intention of the Liberal Party—keeping in mind the lean fiscal years ahead, possibly—to sustain the current levels of public housing stock, with a view to improving the management and administration of the properties and tenancies and ensuring that the asset base best met current demands from applicants and tenants. I have taken the time to consider why this election commitment was not delivered. The minister has enlightened the Assembly to the fact that during each fiscal year he can take requests to the table with his ministerial colleagues and seek to have them fulfilled but that in some years he will simply not be able to convince his colleagues of the importance of the need for funding increases—in this case, a housing system in real need of improvement in management practices. Mr Hargreaves would have us believe that everything is hunky-dory within his department, that morale among his staff is wonderful. I do not know whom he has talked to lately, but I constantly get calls about the morale in disability—

Mr Quinlan: Oh, “I get calls”—here we go! Legions! Piles of letters this high. Bring them down here.

Mr Seselja: It’s like those letters Mr Corbell gets.


MRS BURKE: This is Mr Quinlan’s favourite. Mr Quinlan obviously does not get calls, because he gets very jealous when anyone in of the opposition stands up and says that they have had calls. It is very sad for you—perhaps your mind is on retirement, I do not know. We have a housing system in real need of improvement in management practices

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