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Tuesday, 18 June 1996
Page: 1721

Senator STOTT DESPOJA(5.33 p.m.) —I would like to add the support of the Democrats for this amendment put forward by Senator Margetts, for many of the reasons outlined by the opposition and earlier by Senator Margetts. I think it is important that the body of the bill is amended accordingly, so I am glad to see that you not only seek to amend the preamble, as originally put forward, but also to amend the bill. I think amendment No. 13 does that as well. Yesterday, when discussing the support of the Democrats for amendment No. 3, which deals with environmentally appropriate housing, I put forward the idea that environmental standards should be better incorporated into public housing. That is a longstanding part of Democrat policy. I think that is worth reiterating.

We recognise that there is a need to ensure environmentally sound outcomes for public housing tenants. Included in that we have referred to waste recycling, insulation, retrofitting and so on. I would seek an assurance during this debate from the minister that in the renegotiation of the Commonwealth-state housing agreement we see some discussion of the environmental design of housing. I note that this is consistent with page 20 of the coalition's policy on housing which refers to better forms of urban design. I understand that there was something similar to that in the earlier draft of this bill. I think it seeks to be re-inserted in the bill in the form of the opposition's amendment, which we will also be supporting.