Page 510 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008
reaches the stage where the police need to be brought in. I would encourage each and every person in Canberra, where they have illegal activity going on, to contact the police.
Mrs Burke: And then what?
MR HARGREAVES: Contrary to Mrs Burke’s bleatings, our housing managers do not have the powers of the police. They do not have the powers of arrest, nor do they have the powers of eviction. Mrs Burke often says, “Kick them out.” Do you know what happens, Mr Speaker? They come through the revolving door into homelessness services and they are then back in the system again. We try to work with those tenants to try and address their behaviour.
At the end of the day, however, we have two options. If we cannot work with these people, if it is just not working, we have a choice between two things. One of them is management-initiated transfer—and that does occur—where we will move a tenant. In some cases that actually has a positive effect on their behaviour and it does work. It does not always work: we move the problem to another part of Canberra and then we are back there again. The last resort is to put the matter before the Residential Tenancies Tribunal, which is the proper authority for eviction. The government, the minister, Housing ACT and the Commissioner for Housing do not have the power—nor should they—to order somebody from their home. We put these matters before the RTT, and on occasions they order evictions. On other occasions they do not. We are seeking additional powers for the RTT to give them the authority to have a conditional order.
Mrs Burke: So you will have the powers.
Mr Pratt: So he doesn’t have the will to protect—
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I am finding it very difficult to talk at the moment.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Burke and Mr Pratt, just as an advisory, have a look at standing order 39.
MR HARGREAVES: Mrs Burke, being a whip, should know that off by heart. But, of course, she is the worst whip this place has ever seen.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Just come to the subject matter of the question.
MR HARGREAVES: We work as much as we can with our clients to try and assist the people that Mr Mulcahy talked about.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Mulcahy?
MR MULCAHY: Yes, and I thank the minister for that answer. You may have to take this question on notice, but can you indicate on how many occasions in the last year repeated disruptive tenants have been brought before the Residential Tenancies