Page 512 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 5 March 2008

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Mr Pratt: I’ll send you a set of—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Come to the question. Mr Pratt, cease interjecting. That is the second time.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The issue is that we have to put it in a certain perspective—it is a very low number of people. Housing ACT tries its best through a range of policies to actually address the underlying issues behind this. We have to take into account not only those particular circumstances but also the circumstances of, for example, children in a particular family who are causing trouble. We cannot just pick up a family and move them if in fact it is going to adversely affect the education of the kids, for example. There is a lot of real hard work that is done by Housing ACT officers working with the tenants and trying to work with the neighbourhood.

In a lot of our multi-unit complexes we have neighbourhood groups, for lack of a better term, and we have community rooms. Our Housing people go down and talk to people in situ. Like I say, Mr Speaker, it really depends on the nature of the behaviour as to whether or not it is something about which we will go very quickly to try and get an eviction order. One of the things that we have considered and we are moving on, subject to parliamentary counsel advice, is seeking extra powers for the RRT to issue compliance orders. At the moment we do not have compliance orders for anything—

Mrs Burke: Acceptable behaviour agreements.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mrs Burke! I have called you to order twice.

MR HARGREAVES: We are trying to get compliance orders. At the moment the act only allows us to do compliance orders with respect to the non-payment of rent. We would like to have additional powers given to the RRT to make out compliance orders with respect to disruptive tenants and disruptive behaviour. We do not have that. There was a court case in recent times about that, which has meant that we are talking about it. We are getting GSO advice and parliamentary counsel advice to try and do something about that. At the end of the day, I would like to hear what solutions those opposite might have, other than tossing people back out onto the street.


MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, yesterday in question time, you stated that Canberra’s public hospitals have a workforce that chooses to come and work here and that our staff rates are going up. Nurses in Canberra’s public hospitals have contacted the opposition’s health hotline to express their serious concerns about the daily occurrences of staff shortages and low morale at the Canberra Hospital.

Yesterday I was advised by a nurse that, in one ward at the Canberra Hospital, a note was left on the admin desk headed “URGENT—Can anyone work?” The note was asking for some 35 shifts to be covered over the weekend, and only two names appeared on the list by late Friday afternoon.

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