The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (15:05): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Human Services regarding Housing Trust forced downsizing.
The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS: Members of parliament have been contacted by residents of SA Housing Authority properties in distress, having had telephone calls and visits from a state government authority informing them that they will be moved from their current home because they allegedly aren't fully utilising the space of the housing, the number of bedrooms. My questions to the minister are as follows:
1. Is the minister aware of Housing Authority tenants being contacted?
2. Did the minister authorise the forced downsizing and, if so, when was this policy approved?
3. What consultation did she undertake to come to this decision?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:06): I thank the honourable member for her question. I think, once again, as we saw in the previous sitting week, the Labor Party might be coming into this place with stories that are largely fabricated. If we can cast our minds back to the previous question time, the SA Housing Trust was being accused of having evicted someone and using its three strike policy to evict someone who, as it was outlined in here, was quite vulnerable. On receiving the identity of that individual and checking it with my department, the only part of the story that I think is possibly true is the fact that the deputy leader had discovered this individual, but the facts as outlined to the chamber were incorrect.
If I am to accept this Labor member's question at face value, I am not aware of any forced relocation policy within the Housing Authority or Housing SA. We certainly do have a situation in South Australia where we have stock that doesn't necessarily match tenants' needs. We also have situations where we need to redevelop some properties. My understanding of the way that the authority operates is—particularly in terms of if there is a need to move someone—that that is done in close consultation with them, not in a forced manner, as has been outlined to the chamber. But I will double-check and bring back something for the chamber if that is not true.
The Hon. K.J. Maher: You are frequently not on top of it—frequently.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Ah, well, your deputy leader was fabricating facts last, so you be careful.
The PRESIDENT: Through me.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: You be very careful—
The PRESIDENT: Through me.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: —Labor members.
The PRESIDENT: Minister, we have finished. The Hon. Ms Pnevmatikos has a supplementary.
The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (15:08): Supplementary arising from the original answer: if this assists, will the minister explain why the shadow minister for human services in the other place has received reports of a 70-year-old widow being forcibly downsized, being advised that she will be forcibly downsized?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:08): One always needs to take the allegations of Labor members with a pinch of salt because when one investigates the facts they are usually quite different. Once again, may I offer that, if there is a particular situation that honourable members would like to provide to me and to my officers, we will look into that and get back to them with a response.
The PRESIDENT: A further supplementary, the Hon. Ms Pnevmatikos.
The PRESIDENT: Leader of the Opposition, I have one of your own members standing, wanting to ask a supplementary.
The PRESIDENT: Leader of the Opposition, please. I am really keen for the Hon. Ms Pnevmatikos to have an opportunity to run this line of inquiry. The Hon. Ms Pnevmatikos.
The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (15:09): A further supplementary: just in broad terms and on the basis of your answer, is the minister giving an undertaking that if people are relocated they will have equal or better facilities, particularly in instances where they have invested their own funds in a property?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:10): The honourable member is referring to specific details. I would like those details to be provided to my office so that we can look into the allegation of forced relocations and provide some details and respond to their constituents.
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Leader of the Opposition) (15:10): Supplementary arising from the original answer: is the minister aware of how many people in any given month are forcibly removed from Housing Trust homes, whether it be for being a disruptive tenant or for forced relocations?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:10): The honourable member has repeated the allegations in the original about forced relocations, and I reject those allegations.
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Leader of the Opposition) (15:10): Further supplementary.
The PRESIDENT: That's the last one. I want to get into another question.
The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Does the honourable member have any idea of the statistics of how many Housing Trust tenants are forcibly removed from their homes in any given year?
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (15:11): Once again, I reject the term 'forcibly relocated'.
The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Stephens.
The PRESIDENT: Just wait there, the Hon. Mr Stephens. There is obviously a conversation going on, and I don't really want to interrupt it. When it's finished, you can ask your question.
The Hon. T.J. STEPHENS: Thanks, Mr President.
The PRESIDENT: Are you all finished? The Hon. Mr Stephens.