Page 353 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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such an absolutely appalling addition to this place. You should take some advice from some wise people such as Mr Doszpot.

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Burch) Can we get back to the subject, minister.

Mr Coe: Great use of the MPI! Great use of it!


MR HARGREAVES: Mr Coe, you are a stand-up joke.


MR HARGREAVES: In fact, I suggest that you go and use some public transport. (Time expired.)

MR COE (Ginninderra) (3.37): The great Australian dream played out in song and literature is to own a home among the gum trees. Whilst the home may not always be a house on land, home ownership is a great Australian tradition. Unfortunately, for some in our city, even renting your own home is beyond reach.

ACT Housing provides support to people who do not have the means to live independently and who have nowhere else to go. Since becoming shadow minister for housing, I have spoken to and met numerous ACT public housing tenants. My overall impression is that the vast majority of them are decent and good people who, due to circumstances beyond their control, rely on the support of the government for their housing. Many such tenants are older Canberrans and their dignity and pride are of utmost importance.

I have had the opportunity to visit some of ACT Housing’s tenants at public housing properties. I was disappointed with what I saw and am very concerned that the ACT government is not providing adequate service to our public housing citizens. I am distressed at the state of some of our public housing properties. Within just 10 kilometres of our national parliament there are public housing properties that are, quite frankly, Third World standard. We should be able to afford basics like fences, cleanliness and common area maintenance at our public housing properties. Older Canberrans take these issues very seriously, and it is vital for their sense of self-worth that their living conditions are of a standard to be proud of.

I believe the ACT government has a special responsibility to treat our public housing tenants with respect and dignity. I believe there can be significant improvements to the administration of housing and better outcomes achieved for public housing tenants in the ACT.

On 13 November, I had the honour of putting the first gift under the Target-UnitingCare share Christmas gift appeal tree at the Canberra city Target store. The appeal collects gifts for not only children but also teenagers, parents and other older Australians. I think it is important at Christmas time to remember everyone and not just young people. A gift at Christmas can bring an immense deal of joy and make

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