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Tuesday, 18 June 1996
Page: 1722


Senator MARGETTS(5.40 p.m.) —I move:

6.   Preamble, page 3 (line 10), after "assistance", insert "and between different types of housing and between different areas in which housing is located".

Amendment No. 6 was designed to ensure that the preamble includes a fairly specific reference to choice of where to live. It is designed to assure that there is housing available in most areas and not just in the fringe areas or welfare ghettoes. It is also designed to indicate that choice should be offered between different types of housing, including flats, separate houses, community housing and so on. It should not be, `You can live in these state housing blocks or else you can have a house out in Woop Woop.' There should be diversity of housing. It should be available in most areas. This was something the better cities program had begun to implement with a bit of diversity in public housing planned for inner city areas like East Perth.

Basically, what we are saying here is that it is important that there is choice. It is also important, as I mentioned before, that you do not have a system in which the places where people want to live—the places where you can get access to services and public transport, which is often what people on the least incomes need—are unavailable.

It is reasonable, I would say, to have some trade-off. It is reasonable that public housing in more valuable urban areas may be of a different nature. You cannot expect to have the same level of garden. You cannot expect to necessarily have the same space between you and the fence. But those kind of choices mean that you make appropriate housing choices—group housing, community housing and medium density housing.

I want to praise the previous housing minister in Western Australia, Jim McGinty. I must say that there is not a lot I used to praise Jim McGinty for. But to give credit where credit is due, he did make a real effort to make sure that there was funded public housing in areas like Fremantle and East Perth, areas which have good accessibility to public transport services, hospitals and so on. This housing was designed in ways that people could look at it and say, `That is good use of the land. There is good space built into there. They are not just dog boxes and they are actually built with people in mind.' I think we can do that. Often it does not cost more to design things well and I think those choices should be available.