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Wednesday, 24 August 1983
Page: 242

Mr HAND(11.37) —I wish to raise tonight a matter concerning the Richmond housing estate in my electorate.

Mr Ian Cameron —Get on to a subject that has a bit of guts in it.

Mr HAND —This subject has a bit of guts in it, my friend, and if you listen, you will be-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the honourable member for Melbourne to address the Chair and not to take notice of disorderly interjections.

Mr HAND —Over the last two days, 42 people from the Richmond high-rise estate have been lobbying members of the Parliament. The Richmond estate, to give some understanding of the size of it, is one of the largest high rise public housing estates in Victoria. There are 1,260 units on the estate and there are between 5 ,500 and 6,000 people living on it. The estate is only six hectares in size. I ask the Government and Opposition members to consider the effects of 6,000 people living in that area. I mention this matter because of the vicious attack by the Opposition on the ethnic communities. I wish to tell the House about the make-up of the ethnic groups in that estate, especially having heard the remarks of the honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman) in the last debate. On this estate, 27 per cent of the 6,000 residents are Vietnamese; 25 per cent are English or New Zealanders; 13 per cent are Turkish; 9 per cent are Timorese; 6 per cent are Yugoslav; 3 per cent are Greek; 3 per cent are Spanish; and 13.5 per cent is made up of other groups. Sixty per cent of the estate population is on rebated rents. By definition they are dependent upon social security payments or on low wages not much more than the social security level. Twenty per cent of the people on the estate are aged between 15 and 24; 23 per cent are aged between 5 and 15; and 11.5 per cent are under 4 years.

I turn now to the matter of the unemployed on the estate. It is estimated that in excess of 50 per cent of the young people-that is, people aged between 15 and 24 years-are unemployed. These people have asked in their submission to the Government-I support them-that the Government consider changes to the current unemployment and training schemes in order to make them more flexible, creative and responsive to the needs of communities such as the North Richmond housing estate. These people need help on a practical level. I should like to see the Government develop a pilot scheme in the area which would allow these people to undertake a study course. That study course would involve training people to be better skilled in their financial affairs, planning their affairs, developing small business skills and managing human resources.

I ask honourable members to consider the effects of 6,000 people living in that area and to compare that area with a country town of 6,000 people which would have a police station, a hospital, a dozen doctors, football ovals and all sorts of other resources. These people live in an area of that size in which they have one community hall. They have nothing else. There is no other recreational area in which the children in the area can play.

All they are asking for is some funds from the Government. I understand from discussions with the Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr Hurford)-I am pleased to report this-that he has sent the submission to his Department for consideration and we anxiously await his Department's decision. On behalf of these people, I strongly urge the Government to support their application for funds to develop a program where we can, as a government, give these people and the children in that area a better quality of life.