Page 1298 - Week 04 - Thursday, 10 April 2008
Some of the people that we have suffer a mental dysfunction. We need to make sure that those folks are located close to the medical supports that they need. An example recently was when we actually built a six-unit complex in Braddon, to make sure that these people were there. Six to 12 is as much as you are going to get. We are not going into the 200-apartment blocks system anymore.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Mulcahy?
MR MULCAHY: I thank the minister for the response. My supplementary question, minister, is: when did you decide to move away from large-scale public housing complexes, and is there a specific timetable for disposal of the Stuart Flats and the Red Hill housing complex?
MR HARGREAVES: I cannot tell the member the exact date that the thought came to us, but I can tell him how the thought arrived. Members would remember me telling them how, in fact, as the new Minister for Housing, I had ministerial forums. I spoke to people who were tenants, I spoke to people who were in the industry, and I talked to people in the non-government organisations about a range of issues, and the issue of dysfunctional tenancies was one of them—that is, the issue of people trying to survive and trying to get a leg up out of a multi-unit property. So, it became the subject of conversation at the summit in 2005.
At that summit I had discussions with developers, I had discussions with the tenants union, and I had discussions with Shelter and a whole heap of people. It emerged that that model which applies itself to Stuart, Gowrie Court, Red Hill, Illawarra Court, Havelock House, Fraser Court—before we moved out of it—and Burnie Court was not working and that we needed to do something about it. That was the time when I asked the department to give some thought to that. When we decided to develop a very rigorous document and a scientifically valid and researched document for cabinet was some months later. That work is still yet to be done and I have yet to take that work to cabinet.
With respect to the flats that Mr Mulcahy identified, there is no timetable at this point. We need to remember that, in attacking this problem, we cannot just turn up on a Thursday and spend the weekend moving people into other accommodation. It does not work in that way. It works in a number of ways, and one is the amount of churn. In some of our multi-unit properties we have got churn as high as 17 per cent. So, if you wait long enough, the place will self-empty and then you can move forward.
Mr Mulcahy: Are you refilling them?
MR HARGREAVES: Once an area has been targeted, we do not refill. Currong Flats is an example of how that worked. The other way, then, is to say to the tenants who are there, “Come and have a look at something which is brand new.” Where we have someone in a one-bedroom apartment, we would take them to a two-bedroom facility where they would have a better one and more facilities, et cetera.
Some of the multi-unit properties, however, pose a problem for us, because there are people in some of our bedsitters paying $90 a week, and they cannot afford anything