Page 4253 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2005

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Mr Hargreaves: That is basically wrong.

MRS BURKE: The pity is that this minister can sit there making silly, ridiculous comments but he has nothing constructive to say with regard to alleviating the pressure of public housing waiting lists at this time—now. We are going around in ever-increasing circles with more talking and more tinkering around the edges. I feel that the wording “notes the work of” is simply fobbing off the whole issue, as we see so often from this minister in this place.

Point two refers to improving the management of the housing asset base. We are not talking about his soon to be announced partnership with Fraser Court and the old Burnie Court site, which of course we will welcome. That is long overdue. It has taken four years or more. It is ridiculous. I am not asking what you have done in the past. I am asking you to move forward, as both Dr Foskey and I have tried to do in our speeches, into the future. I find it simply unconscionable that the minister cannot find the words to show some leadership and vision and tell us what is in store for the future. There are all the things he has released before, but I want to see more innovation and action, not delay. I will not be supporting the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services): I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: I thank members. I wanted to respond to some questions that Mr Smyth asked. He said, “How much of the $10 million have you spent on fire safety?” The answer is $12 million, and there is $4 million more yet to be spent. It is committed. He said that the super school was going to cost $43 million. He makes out as though it is going to happen in one year. Wrong, again. It is either a misunderstanding of the way in which building projects are undertaken over a number of years or it is a bit of convenient Garyising of the capital works program.

The government will be supporting the amended motion today. The government is one of the largest landlords in the country. The ACT’s public housing assets total some 11,560 properties, valued at $2.9 billion. The 2005 Productivity Commission report on government services shows the ACT has the highest level of public housing in Australia. At about 8.6 per cent of all dwellings, the ACT’s level of public housing is almost twice the national average of 4.5 per cent. Since coming to office in 2001, the ACT government has focused housing policy, and continues to focus housing policy, on providing accommodation to those most in need.

The government is committed to the retention of a strong and viable social housing system and has supported this commitment through the provision of unprecedented levels of funding for public and community housing. This included a special allocation of $33.2 million in 2003-04 to increase the supply of public and community housing stock. This funding was supported in the following budget by a further $20 million over

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