Page 598 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 9 March 2011

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correctly, it is $1½ million already delivered through that program, reaching out to low income households, to allow them to purchase energy efficient appliances to assist them with improving insulation, improving draught sealing and those types of measures in the home, improving hot water systems in those homes where the government is able to invest directly in them. So it is very much a reflection of the government’s commitment to helping low income households.

Of course, in addition to that, we have increased very significantly the energy concession arrangement for low income households here in Canberra. In fact, in dollar terms, the ACT’s energy concession payment is one of the highest in the country, at $214.87, which is a very significant commitment on the part of the government. The funding is a very significant increase, $1.8 million additional over the next four years, to provide that energy concession. Of course, it has now been indexed to CPI to help to prevent any erosion of the value of that payment. We are very pleased to have been able to provide that assistance, whether it is through direct measures to provide payments to low income households to assist them with their energy and water costs.

It is interesting, of course, that the Leader of the Opposition is not interested in practical measures to assist low income households. He is quite happy to make the cheap political point about the cost of living but, when it comes to actual measures that save households, for example, over $100 a year on their energy costs, he is not interested. It just shows the hypocrisy of his position. (Time expired.)

Mr Coe interjecting

Mr Seselja interjecting

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe and Mr Seselja, you are both now warned for repeated interjections.

Homeless people—services

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the minister for housing and is in relation to homelessness. Minister, on 15 February I asked you about the state of homelessness in Canberra and your reply was that about 95 per cent of those seeking emergency accommodation each day were being housed. Minister, approaches to my office from community organisations and constituents that are homeless are indicating that homelessness is currently on the rise and a great number of people, in particular families, are not being accommodated. Is this something you and your department are also seeing and are the numbers of homeless in Canberra in fact getting worse?

MS BURCH: I am not quite sure, but I am sure I have come back with a figure that we were indeed up to 97 per cent on recent data. We have introduced a common waiting list into our social housing program and have also introduced first point as the central intake service for homelessness. We recognise that first point will provide us additional intelligence and information about the numbers of people who are seeking services. The ROGS data is somewhat older data, as you would appreciate, but first point will give us monthly and weekly data as those data systems come online.

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