Page 1981 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 7 June 2017

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MR HANSON: And Mr Rattenbury is interjecting now—always the great condemner of interjections.

Mr Rattenbury: You are twisting our words to suit your agenda.

MR HANSON: He is having a go, Madam Speaker. He is a bit upset. But if Mr Wall quoted correctly, which I am sure he did, verbatim, then that is not a twisting of the words. Mr Rattenbury just talked here about this being about what is in the public interest. I cannot see, then, how Ms Le Couteur and Mr Rattenbury can deny this information which is clearly in the public interest. They know it. They know it and their actions here today are shameful.

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (12.14): I will close the debate, in part because Mr Rattenbury was looking forward to hearing the closing address here. Madam Speaker, in the time that I have been looking after this housing portfolio I have had dozens of conversations with public housing advocacy groups, with community groups and with public housing providers right around the country. And I have not had a single person in that space concur with the minister’s definition of supportive housing.

I think that that is at the centre of this debate. I think that all of us here in this chamber are well aware that the public housing developments that are mooted for Wright, Holder, Chapman and Mawson most likely could have been overturned if not for the technical amendment made to the Territory Plan in December of 2015. Certainly the FOI documentation that we have received supports that view.

If the Territory Plan’s intention was for public housing to be built on community facilities zoned land it would clearly say among the list of things to be built there “public housing”, and it does not. Leaving aside any arguments about the merits of that amendment and leaving aside the basic argument that a technical amendment by its nature is not supposed to change the substance of the plan, I think it is clear that the government now has at its disposal a mechanism to build public housing developments in places where once it did not.

If, for the purpose of this motion, we are to just accept: “Here’s one that you got away with”, I think we must accept that it is not in the original spirit of the Territory Plan. Most importantly, the construction of public housing developments on community facilities zoned land is well outside of the community expectation of what can or should be constructed in that space. We are actually here advocating for the community.

Ms Le Couteur told us that she can fully understand that the people in the suburbs want to know whether the government is considering building a public housing complex on a community facilities zone over the road from them. So she can understand the anguish. She can understand the confusion for those people. But she is not prepared to do anything about it.

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