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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6421


Ms MACKLIN (Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) (11:30 AM) —I thank the member for Maranoa for his question. I understand that his question is put in the best interests of his constituents. I recall both his letter and his conversation with me and I take his question in the good way he has presented it here today. We are still working with the Queensland government, trying to make sure that this money is spent to upgrade and improve the standard of housing not only for his constituents but for the other Aboriginal people in Queensland who so desperately need their homes upgraded. The member for Maranoa is right to say that it is unacceptable that these houses are in this condition—they have been in this condition for far too long.

We have made $60 million available. The issue is not that it is caught up in any bureaucratic problem—I reassure the member that that is not the issue. We are sitting down working through these issues with Indigenous community housing organisations. As you know, one of the conditions we are putting on the upgrade of these houses is that we improve the tenancy management—not just in his area; it is right across Queensland, right across Australia, for that matter. We want to see all Aboriginal housing organisations delivering tenancy management to the same standard that we have for other public housing tenants. We want to make sure that each of our state and territory colleagues is making sure that the maintenance and upgrading of housing is done to the same standard that any other public housing tenant can expect.

These are major reforms, which have not been implemented in the past. Some Indigenous community housing organisations are pleased to come on board. With others we are continuing to have discussions. I am happy to have another look at the particular examples the member raises here with me again today. I know he is doing it because of concern for his constituents and I will follow it up for him.