Page 2428 - Week 06 - Thursday, 24 June 2010

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MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, could you let us know how often surgeons are advised or consulted by the hospital with respect to the waiting lists?

MS GALLAGHER: Surgeons are continuously in discussions with the surgical booking unit around patients, around availability of operating times, around their holidays and around leave requirements—on any number of matters. It is a constant and ongoing process.

Housing—energy efficiency

MS BRESNAN: My question is for the minister for housing and is about the expensive energy bills for public housing tenants. Minister, I understand that some of the newer Housing ACT stock, despite having a six-star rating, is going to cause expensive energy bills because of costly design elements such as large, uncovered windows, halogen down-lighting and large living areas. Minister, on what basis is it appropriate to spot-purchase newer houses that will lead to high energy bills and why is the government including this housing as part of its stock?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Bresnan for her question. My understanding is that houses constructed for new purchases for Housing ACT are six-star energy rated. We spoke earlier this week around “A place to call home”, which, indeed, as I mentioned, will bring on 20 new properties. These are new properties and these are supporting families who are at risk of homelessness. Housing ACT works closely with clients to match properties. They have choices sometimes in the properties they get offered.

We also have invested $20 million over 10 years for energy efficient measures in public housing. Energy efficient improvements to date have been to 1,791 properties, and works under this plan have included wall and ceiling insulation, draft seals, high-energy hot-water systems for new and existing dwellings and photovoltaic electricity systems have been installed into apartment complexes. The hot-water systems being installed, where suitable, are five-star gas, electric boosted solar hot-water systems or electric heat pumps. The hot-water systems are being installed upon failure of existing systems.

As properties are vacated, Housing ACT goes into properties and has a look at what we can do to upgrade, maintain and improve the energy efficiency of properties as part of our routine maintenance. And that could be covered under the $20 million over 10 years.

We are committed to replace old and inefficient portable whitegoods such as refrigerators and washing machines.

Ms Bresnan: On a point of order, my question was about design elements being included in houses that were not energy efficient and why these design elements were being included in properties that were being purchased.

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