Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 30 June 2011) . . Page.. 3008 ..
MS BURCH: I thank Ms Bresnan for her question. There was a report put out that highlighted some process and some throughput through the priority list. It focused on a particular story of a woman who was in housing stress who came through the department in late 2009, I understand. There were some internal processes that clearly, I believe, let this woman down. I think the woman was housed in about February—early 2010.
Since that time, Housing ACT has made some significant internal changes that have improved our systems and processes. We have certainly reviewed our letters and our correspondence that clearly outline to the applicant their rights of reply and where they can go should they want to challenge or question decisions. Also, we have gone into the staff who were making those assessments. We have upgraded those levels so that they are operating at a higher level and we have provided significant internal training as well.
We have also created the central access point at Conservation House. That will link government and non-government providers—
Ms Bresnan: Point of order, Mr Speaker. While I do appreciate the background that the minister is giving me, and I do thank her for that, my question was actually about why Housing ACT capped the priority waiting list at 150 applicants and let officers make their own judgement about who was worst off rather than going to the criteria of risk and hardship.
MR SPEAKER: Minister Burch.
MS BURCH: All applicants are assessed on their risk and their need. We have around 1,500 people on our waiting list. About 150 sit on the priority. There is another chunk in high needs and then another lot in standards. All of those are assessed on their need. They are not issued properties on a first in, first served basis. That would not be the way. In fact, we made those significant changes a number of years ago. Those in most need are addressed and provided with accommodation first.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Bresnan?
MS BRESNAN: Minister, how many applicants are with Housing officers waiting to be considered by the multi-disciplinary panel and then the priority waiting list?
MS BURCH: I do not have that level of detail. I am quite happy to take that and come back. Another reform or change we have made is that applicants are now managed by an individual worker, so one worker will follow the application process through. That will better allow those triggers that will happen in the circumstances to be identified and rectified as they come through.
MR COE: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Coe.