Page 3466 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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commitment to those people who cannot afford to rent in the private marketplace, and I do that quite sincerely, what is required when we talk about affordable housing is that we talk about the extent to which the disposable income of low income people enables them to afford it. At the moment, the influences that we have over the private sector are somewhat limited. That is why I have been talking about bringing all of the stakeholders and players together in February to discuss this subject globally. I hope that Dr Foskey will express some interest in that.

I have been talking to the community as part of my consultation process, a consultation process that is foreign to those opposite. They do not know how to do it. They have the old consultation process of telling people how they are going to do things but not actually doing anything. They do not actually talk to people. They tell them how things are going to go. The Chief Minister has already articulated in this place stacks of times how their consultation process is one way.

We actually engage with the community as part of a social compact that this government has and, to that end, I have had a number of consultation activities about affordable housing, about rental levels and about the difficulties for tenants in the private and public sectors. I have had a number of those and they have been particularly well attended and I have had quite a number of discussions with groups such as ACT Shelter and the tenants union. But we need also to understand what we can do about this subject, notwithstanding, as the Minister for Planning just indicated for those who are interested, that if you go outside and look at the skyline all you will see is cranes. What do you think they are building, Mr Speaker? They are actually building apartment blocks. There is, in fact, a glut of units under construction.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s time has expired.

DR FOSKEY: I have a supplementary question. Since the March quarter data certainly was available well before the report dated 30 June was tabled, could the minister please explain why his departmental officers did not access that data and what he will do to address that in the future?

MR HARGREAVES: The Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services has, in the context of the housing component of the department, the greatest bunch of officers committed to trying to address affordable housing in this town. They are professionals and I take offence at the slight.

Sustainable transport plan

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Planning. I understand that yesterday the government reached a milestone of 21,845 adult patronage boardings on ACTION buses. Can the minister tell the Assembly about the recent initiatives the government has taken to demonstrate its commitment to the sustainable transport plan?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. Unlike those opposite, this government has a commitment to improve public transport choices for the people of Canberra. I am really pleased and excited by the level of patronage we are achieving.

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