Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Grilled Minister

Since Desperate Houso can't afford the theatre anymore, she reckons you can't go past a good Budget Estimates Committee Hearing for affordable high farce and drama.

DH arrived late at State Parliament, just in time to hear the excellent and conscientious Sylvia Hale (Greens), grilling the hapless Cherie Burton, (former Houso, now Minister for Housing) who has the humiliating task of selling out her houso forebears and defending Labor's new "Reshaping Public Housing" policy.

This is a policy that's shaping up to be the social engineering equivalent of the Titanic (where if you recall, the lower orders sank first, but most of the upper classes went not long after. Apparently management had thought to save money by failing to supply sufficient housi... err.. boating stock...).

"Misshaping Public Housing", as the new policy is affectionately known in houso circles, is apparently dedicated to 3R's

  1. Raising the average IQ of housos
    What on earth were the policy wonkers thinking when they introduced short term leases based on income?

    Desperate Houso scratched her head about this for a long time.

    Till it finally dawned that
    anyone brainless enough to trade in secure housing for an insecure wage in today's casualised workforce will end up leaving. Leaving behind those of us with half a brain left. Thus creating a better class of public housing tenant.

    Note to Howard and Patterson: Here's a perfect opportunity to strengthen Commonwealth/ State relations while cutting more people off the Centrelink payload. How about threatening to turf any public housing tenant accepting low paid or part-time work off the dole???
  • Reducing state revenue
    Us remaining brainy housos will need to be subsidised to the hilt. Especially as we wont be able to afford to maintain our properties.
  • Recouping lost revenue by hiking the rent and calling it "responsible water management"
    since most houses are not metered, there is no incentive to save water whatever.
[DH has just received the transcripts of the meeting she attended. While she matches up her recollections with what was actually said, she is pulling her comments about the performance of the housing minister in case they were unfair.]

OK, so now DH knows what happens at Budget Estimates Committees. Government policy gets to face some pretty canny scrutiny, and ministers can end up with egg on their face. But what happens next? Not a lot as far as DH can make out. Despite Reshaping Public Housing being a counter-productive lose-lose policy full of more holes than a sieve, the Jumblies of State Parliament are intending to set sail in it anyhow.


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LAS said...

Hi DH,

As someone else who observed the Budget Estimates hearing, I'd say your assessment of how Cherie Burton went is fair - she seemed to be hanging onto her officials & Govt policy rhetoric for dear life (not that either did her much good).

That said, I still hope that it's just a matter of time before she gets on top of her portfolio, sees what nonsense the Govt's policy is and starts backpedalling.

One puzzling thing: the Minister talked about 'social housing' a few times, not as a wider housing category (inc. public & community housing) but as a synonym for public housing. And always in the context of breaking up concentrated areas of it and rationing it to the most socially disadvantaged. Why this choice of words?