FORSTER DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING UNIT FIRE QWN
15th September 2011
The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services, representing the Minister for Family and Community Services. In light of the overnight tragedy that took place in a former Department of Housing unit block in Forster, will the Minister advise what action, if any, was taken by the department in response to concerns about the property raised by the Great Lakes Council over the past two years?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: That is a difficult question.
The reaction of members opposite to people being injured is to burst into laughter.
The Hon. Eric Roozendaal: Point of order: We are not laughing about the question; we are laughing at the Minister.
The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Hon. Eric Roozendaal to order for the first time.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Members opposite have asked me dozens of questions about Orica, but the Leader of the Opposition did not take up the offer yesterday to call WorkCover and he did not take the call from the chief executive officer.
The Hon. Luke Foley: Point of order: The Minister is once again misleading the House. It is simply not true to say that I did not take a call from the chief executive officer of WorkCover. I said that I did not receive the call. The Minister should withdraw that statement.
The PRESIDENT: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: You did not take the call.
The PRESIDENT: Order! The Minister will resume his seat.
The Hon. Luke Foley: I didn’t receive one you lying prick.
The PRESIDENT: Order! The Leader of the Opposition should withdraw those unparliamentary words.
The Hon. Luke Foley: I withdraw.
The Hon. Amanda Fazio: To the point of order: My point of order relates to relevance. The Hon. Jan Barham’s question was very serious; she asked about the tragic fire that occurred yesterday in a former Department of Housing dwelling. The Minister should be asked to answer that question and not to talk about questions he was asked earlier in question time.
The PRESIDENT: Order! If the Minister has no information relevant to the Hon. Jan Barham’s question, he should conclude his answer as quickly as possible.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: As I was going to indicate, I will come back with a detailed answer.
15th September 2011
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Earlier today the Hon. Jan Barham asked me a question about a tragic incident overnight in Forster.
The PRESIDENT: Order! I ask members to reduce the level of audible conversation in the Chamber.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: The Government and, I am sure, all honourable members extend our condolences to the victims of the incident overnight in Forster. The property in Little Street, Forster, is owned by Housing NSW and had been managed by Community Housing Ltd for a number of years. Housing NSW plans to sell the property and the tenants had been relocated. There was only one remaining tenant in the complex and she was not injured in the incident. Housing NSW is arranging temporary accommodation prior to finalising her relocation. All the windows of the vacant units on the ground floor had been boarded up and the doors screwed shut to deter squatters. The stairwells to the upstairs units had also been boarded to prevent access to those units. I am advised that staff from Community Housing Ltd had been on the site late last week. At that time the boarding was intact and there was no sign of squatters. Housing NSW is assisting police with their inquiries.