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Tuesday, 16 October 1973
Page: 2139

Mr BONNETT (HERBERT, QUEENSLAND) - Is the Minister for the Capital Territory aware of recent reports that some servicemen who have let their houses whilst on transfer from Canberra are being required to discharge their Commissioner for Housing mortgages within a period of 28 days? Are those reports correct? Has there been a change of policy on this matter? If so, what is the policy and does it affect only servicemen or all Commonwealth public servants on transfer from Canberra?

Mr BRYANT (WILLS, VICTORIA) (Minister for the Capital Territory) - Several years ago the Department of Defence and the Department of the Interior agreed upon the terms upon which servicmen could leave houses in Canberra when posted elsewhere. The terms were that for 2 years they were permitted to own their houses financed with Commissioner for Housing loans, but after 2 years they were allowed to continue to own them with Commissioner for Housing loans provided they gave definite evidence of an intention to return to live in Canberra. The only occasion so far on which people have been asked to renegotiate their loans are those where they have not given satisfactory evidence that they propose to live in Canberra. The attitude I will pursue in relation to this matter is, of course, that we are here to change situations of hardship and not to administer them. I will discuss the matter with the Minister for Defence to see that servicemen are not disadvantaged. But we are certainly not going to permit a system whereby people are able to take a double advantage of any particular benefits that flow in any situation.

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