Page 4138 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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MS BERRY: Certainly neither I nor my staff did. I would have to check on the directorate, but certainly not I or my staff, no.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, why was Ms Lawder’s application for a remission of charges for this FOI request refused?

MS BERRY: I understand that the process for FOIs includes the directorate making an assessment on a cost that might be involved. If the cost is over and above what is deemed reasonable then the department would get back to the member who has made that FOI request and explain that to the member. I understand that that is the case. It was not a decision for me to make. That was a decision for the directorate to make. I can bring some more information on that back to the Assembly. The advice I have is that information has been provided back to the office of Ms Lawder as to the reasons why, or as to the cost of the FOI request, because of the broad scope of the request. I will get some more detail on that. I can probably provide some more detail to the Assembly.


DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Housing. Minister, how are the government’s investments in housing and homelessness services supporting a fair and inclusive community?

MS BERRY: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. This question points to the fact that our commitment to inclusion and equality flows through in investments right across the government. Housing is one of the central foundations, particularly given how important a safe and stable home is for many other parts of life. This government’s unprecedented public housing renewal program, our ongoing investment in our public housing stock and tenant support, and services for those experiencing homelessness show a clear response to this fact.

The figures from across the portfolio in 2015 include 22,096 people who were provided with safe, secure and affordable housing; 1,126 people who were housed in new tenancies, 97 per cent of whom were in priority or high need allocations; 132 new public housing dwellings delivered, 100 of which were newly built; $11.1 million spent on refurbishing and upgrading properties, including improving the energy efficiency of homes and security for older tenants; almost $3.5 million provided to Karinya House to offer supported accommodation to pregnant and postnatal women and their babies in support of the step up for our kids strategy; and Common Ground Canberra, which was opened in July, with 40 public spaces and affordable housing units with collocated support services, a building and community that was very warmly welcomed by Gungahlin.

An independent evaluation of the homelessness services sector was completed in 2014 and also found that more support in the form of early intervention, prevention and outreach services was resulting in better employment and education outcomes. It

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