Page 1953 - Week 05 - Thursday, 6 May 2010

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This government welcomes the standing committee’s report. As noted by the standing committee, the objective of the Auditor-General’s report was to provide an independent opinion on whether the maintenance for public housing is being managed efficiently and effectively. While the Auditor-General found there were some difficulties and delays in implementing the total facilities management contract during the early period, leading to some deficiencies in its management, she also stated that Housing ACT has taken action in recent years to improve the performance of the maintenance of public housing through change management initiatives.

Housing ACT has already responded to the recommendations of the Auditor-General’s report and has implemented all of the agreed recommendations. In all, the standing committee has made five recommendations in its report. The government agrees with two of these recommendations, agrees with one recommendation in part and has noted two recommendations.

In addition to the standing committee’s recommendation relating to the Auditor-General’s report, the committee also seeks that another audit be undertaken prior to the letting of the next contract and that there be consultation with tenants as part of this process. This recommendation can only be agreed in part as only the Auditor-General can determine whether such an audit will occur. However, the government would welcome a further audit.

The government would be pleased to seek the views of tenants. Perhaps the appropriate mechanism for doing this would be through our Joint Champions Group. The issues around the extension or retendering of the maintenance contract is a recommendation raised by both the Auditor-General and the standing committee—specifically that there be sufficient time before the expiry of the existing contract to undertake negotiations or the tender process.

I am pleased to advise that negotiations with Spotless have been concluded and a deed of variation extending the Spotless contract to July 2012 was executed in early March. A copy of both the deed of variation and a statement of reasons for the extension of the contract are included in the government’s response.

The considerations taken into account in extending the contract include Spotless’s overall performance in delivering maintenance services, value for money, employment initiatives and the reinvestigation and refining of performance indicators. The standing committee’s final recommendation seeks information on the funding of maintenance of public housing dwellings.

I welcome the opportunity to address this issue. As I have already said, we face considerable challenges in maintaining our public housing stock given the size and the age of the portfolio. In managing the maintenance of public housing properties, expenditures need to be channelled to those properties that are in the greatest need of maintenance and in areas that are sustainable in the long term.

We are currently undertaking a condition audit of all our properties. We have developed standards to ensure there is appropriate amenity and safety for tenants, and

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