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Monday, 24 November 2008
Page: 19


Senator LUDLAM (5:24 PM) —I would just like to add to those remarks, because essentially the Australian Greens, as Senator Payne put it, similarly had a great deal of concern. This was a fix that was literally hammered together at five minutes to midnight. I believe that we found out about it the day the bill was finally introduced into parliament. I believe it put the very viability of the scheme at risk. The scheme was designed to encourage the participation of community housing organisations whose very participation was threatened. The largest community housing provider in Western Australia had threatened to pull out of the scheme if this problem was not fixed. I hope that it does not take another two years for this matter to be resolved. I would suggest that it needs to be resolved in the first few months of 2009 so that the viability of the scheme is assured and, in particular, the participation of the community housing sector. The Australian Greens wrote to the Treasurer because this issue was foreshadowed several weeks before the matter came before the Senate. We were pleased that, at least, a resolution was offered, but it is very short term. We hope that before the third round of NRAS, when properties do go out for tender, this issue is resolved once and for all.