Page 4218 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2005

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I argue that that is a very dangerous and risky position for the Liberal Party to promote. It works fine for those people who are able to kick the habit and who are able to go through a rehabilitation program and detoxification program and get there. But it does not work for those who still engage in risky behaviour and need a harm-minimisation approach.

DR FOSKEY: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Given some of the issues that you raise minister, how can members of the public and community organisations who support a safe health prison-based syringe exchange program in the new prison assist the government in making its decision?

MR CORBELL: Those with an interest in this issue should make their views known to the government, as people do all the time on issues of interest to them. I encourage them to make their views known. The government will obviously take those into account in making its decision.

Housing—ministerial conferences

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, I understand that you recently attended the national housing and the housing ministers conferences that were held concurrently in Perth. Could you please advise the Assembly of the outcomes of these conferences?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms Porter for the question. I did attend both the Housing Ministers Conference and the National Housing Conference in Perth late last month. I can advise the Assembly that housing ministers reviewed progress on the implementation of a number of key measures towards improving availability of affordable housing. Ministers particularly focused on two crucial areas of activity. These were a framework for national action on affordable housing and an indigenous housing reform and investment strategy.

The framework for national action on affordable housing provides a strategic, integrated and long-term vision for affordable housing in Australia, with stated commitment from state, territory and Commonwealth governments. The framework will look at activities related to the direct delivery and management of affordable housing, as well as parallel policy parameters that influence the housing market more broadly and are managed outside housing portfolios.

A joint meeting of housing, local government and planning ministers endorsed the framework in August 2005 and agreed to develop initiatives to implement a range of actions over the next three years aimed at addressing a predicted shortfall in affordable housing. Housing ministers were provided with an update on the work done to advance the framework and discussed the range of resources and policy levers that could be applied to improve housing affordability, both home ownership and rental. These include: supply side programs, such as social housing programs supported by the commonwealth-state housing agreement; demand assistance such as the commonwealth rental allowance; taxes on property assets and transactions; purchase assistance programs such as the first home owners grant and other home ownership or shared ownership

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