Page 2604 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005
would be less drain on the public purse through those rebates. That is simple arithmetic. Once again, Mr Seselja should have done a bit of arithmetic before he opened his gob.
The unbridled attack on Dr Foskey is nothing short of scandalous. Those people over there say they did not introduce it into the estimates process. That is true, Mr Speaker, but who was it that introduced it into the media, into the community, in the first place? You know full well who it was and, if you can sleep at night, good on you. People who are in our tenancies are given a home. They raise their children in those homes. Sometimes there are people in there paying market rent and they are a bit elderly. Some elderly people have a four-bedroom home that they have lived in for 20-odd years. They have raised their children in that home, their partner has died, their support is in that neighbourhood but this lot would have us take them out of that home. Shame on you lot. There is no way in the wide world that we are doing that. I am very proud that it was this government that reversed the draconian policy that you people had. It is just not on. We give people homes; we do not give people tents to stay in until they have got on their feet.
Mrs Burke says that all of these people who have got these private properties are leaving the market place, and that they are leaving in droves. I do not see that reflected in the real estate pages. What I see revealed in there is a vacancy rate that is the highest it has been for a long, long time. It is sitting up at five per cent, which is just incredible.
Mrs Burke talks about morale in the department of housing. She would not know what the word morale meant. I do not think she knows how to spell it let alone know what it means. I speak to my staff regularly and their morale is at an all-time high, because they are delivering to the people in Canberra. Mrs Burke tries to frighten the staff of housing in the same way she tried to frighten those child protection workers when she so savagely attacked them in the last Assembly. She is a mistress of the art of scaremongering, and I do not know how she can do this. I really do not.
She also shows a lack of understanding when she talks about the appropriation figures being here and there and all that sort of stuff. She has to understand that Housing ACT is actually a trading enterprise. How do we acquire properties? We buy properties because we have got money from selling properties. The capital injection is to increase that capability. It is not a simple case of saying, “Oh, dear, there is something missing from the appropriation.” That is not the case. Mrs Burke is the epitome of simplicity and babes in the wood when it comes to this sort of general accounting process. This is the government that did the affordable housing task force. This is the government that addressed homelessness. Mrs Dunne gets up and so eloquently talks about the guy living up the road here—well, we know where he is and we can stick him in accommodation, just like that, in the blink of an eye.
We have arrangements—the emergency accommodation service, backpackers hostels and caravan parks. We have got other supports through TAS Housing and a whole range of other things. Mrs Burke well knows that and so too should Mrs Dunne, if she had bothered to check it out. Nobody lives homeless in this town unless they absolutely have to. The government’s record on tackling affordable housing in this town, in terms of developing options for people to get into their own home, in assisting people through rental to sustain their tenancies and to attack homelessness, is to be envied. We are