Page 3894 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 19 October 2005

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DR FOSKEY: It seems to be something she cannot get off. As to why I did not address housing, you may not have noticed but I was really galloping towards the end, and had to cut out quite a bit of it. We will be talking about the response to the government’s progress report on the affordable housing strategy tomorrow, so no doubt we will be talking a lot about it. I feel as though I am always talking about it and coming up with ideas. I feel quite qualified to talk about housing in relation to poverty. We have had that argument here before. I do not plan to haul Mrs Burke over the coals about that because there are probably a number of issues we could raise.

Of course one of the problems of living in Canberra is the high cost of housing. I think we all know that now. Do we have to keep saying the same thing over and over? The whole point of this motion was to move the debate on to something we could do. It recognises the federal climate in which the ACT government operates; it recognises that state and territory governments can play a major role and that in fact they are going to have to play a major role. The problem is that, because of their function of providing education and health and being part of the provision of housing, they are going to have to pick up a lot of the pieces that are caused by federal government policy. It is a real pity that the states and territories do not have the support of the federal government with regard to funding for social and other housing.

Let us look again at the motion the Assembly has agreed to. I am sorry the Liberal Party does not see a way to agree with any part of this motion. From some of the things people have said, I thought they could have agreed with some bits of it. For instance, do you recognise the link between unemployment, underemployment and ongoing cycles of poverty? You have indicated that you do not. Do you recognise that the growing proportion of the low-skilled work force is at risk of unemployment and underemployment due to the increase in casualisation of the work force? You probably do not want to admit that one.

Do you recognise the prohibitively high effective marginal tax rates for social security beneficiaries? We recognise that one. Do you acknowledge the increased vulnerability of people living in poverty as a consequence of federal government policy? No. You have indicated that you could not possibly say that, even if that is secretly the case. Do you not think it is a good idea for the ACT government to provide a detailed analysis of employment rates and distribution in the ACT; to investigate a targeted employment creation and support strategy? You say employment is the answer. Is it not important to refocus business support programs to those creating entry level employment? And do you not think that the community and social services are doing very valuable work, especially in relation to the poor and that, if we did not have them, we would have a lot more people living in poverty in the ACT?

MR SPEAKER: The member’s time has expired.

Motion agreed to.

Sub judice convention

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.39): I move:

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