Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1653 ..
It is disappointing to see how little extra the government is investing in Canberra’s public housing at a time when housing affordability is at a crisis point. I agree with Dr Foskey about the SAAP funding of $1 million. It seems a minuscule amount, but at a time when rents are at a record high we seek to raise the eligibility criteria for public housing, making it more difficult for people to access public housing. There is a tranche of people now desperately trying to find accommodation.
The retrofitting of water saving devices in public housing is good but, if you will excuse the pun, this is a watering down of the Stanhope government’s 2004 election promise to retrofit the 70,000 Canberra households that still have inefficient water guzzling toilets and showerheads.
We saw the slashing of $33 million from ACT Housing’s budget in the horror budget of 2006. Failing to invest more in public housing hardly does anything for social justice. Mr Speaker, there is very much that I could say. I have one paragraph about disability services. Why? It is because there is literally nothing mentioned in the budget about the main bulk of people with a disability and/or their carers. All I can say is that we should have a moment of silence in the absence of initiatives.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.30): Jon Stanhope’s 2008-09 budget is an extraordinary, piecemeal document. I think the shadow treasurer referred to it as a sprinkling of fairy dust. There are little itty-bitty programs all over the place.
In relation to what I am going to deal with next, I know that Dr Foskey has used this line, but I intended to use it. Even though she got in before me, it needs to be said. On page 19 of the budget speech, the Chief Minister says in relation to the environment that no effort is too small. Dr Foskey is right: when it comes to climate change, only small efforts are put in by the Stanhope government. It is a bevy of small initiatives.
The climate change action plan has 43 actions in it. It is interesting to go back and review some of the literature on the climate change action plan. When the Liberal Party was in government, we had a greenhouse strategy that had a large number of actions in it. When it was reviewed, at about the time of the change of government, one of the standout recommendations was to go back, cut back the number of initiatives and do something more substantial with the money—rather than having a lot of little things peppered everywhere, take the money and do something substantial so that it is easier to monitor and does not take up so many resources in monitoring and accounting for these things.
When the Stanhope government threw out our greenhouse strategy and eventually replaced it with his strategy, “Weathering the change”, it failed the first test. There was a strategy. The strategy was criticised—and rightly—for having too many actions in it. In a small jurisdiction like this, you should be doing more substantive things with the money. But what the Stanhope government did when it created its climate change strategy was to go through the bureaucracy and find anything that in any way could be construed as an energy efficiency program or something of that form. If it had greenhouse that could in any way be attached to it, it was put in the climate change strategy so that the government could say, “Look how much we are doing or