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Public Housing

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A conversation the Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward had with a resident of the Apollo Estate during her visit this week brought home the reality of living in public housing estates and the daily challenges these residents face. The tenant relayed how she lives in constant terror of home invasion and has resorted to sleeping at her front door as a precautionary measure. Her story sadly is not unique in public housing situations where the department has the difficult job of trying to accommodate needy people with very different lifestyle experiences and expectations. Unlike our predecessors who effectively sat on their hands and did little to improve the circumstances of those living in public housing, the Liberals and Nationals Government is committed to lifting the standard of public housing and services to ensure that families in crisis do not fall through the cracks. Given the often complicated personal circumstances of many public housing tenants a number of government agencies are involved in providing services which results in an overlap of responsibilities and at times a lack of clear communication and understanding when attempting to resolve more contentious issues. This approach to problem solving is deeply flawed and does not result in outcomes that are in the best interest for the clients nor the community. The NSW Government intends on integrating the delivery of housing and community services so that Housing NSW, community services, disability services, policing and other partners work more collectively and not against each other. Touring the Apollo Estate last week with Pru Goward afforded the Minister a firsthand look at the challenges faced by residents living there. The visit served as a timely reminder that there is still a long way to go till we reach the point where we can be satisfied that we have improved the lot of those living in such estates. However we can take great encouragement from many positive the steps that have already been taken to closing the gap and the clear evidence that many living within the Estate do take great pride in their homes and are unfairly stereotyped.


The other important issue to be considered in the electorate this week is how our community wishes to embrace its future. The NSW Government is determined to deliver the change people have called for to make NSW number one. NSW 2021 is the Governments 10-year plan to rebuild the economy, return quality services, renovate infrastructure, strengthen our local environment and communities, and restore accountability to government. Heading the local forum in Dubbo last week to develop a localised regional action plan, were the Ministers for Western NSW, Aboriginal Affairs and Family and Community Services. Kevin Humphries, Victor Dominello and Pru Goward each had an opportunity to listen to the community's priorities for our local communities and actions that will shape local plans aligned to NSW 2021. This was an encouraging start to what the government envisages will be a measure of lasting benefit to regional communities throughout the state.

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