Veterans and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015

Ms SANDELL (Melbourne) — As others have said, the Veterans and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2015 makes a series of small changes across a number of acts, and I will not seek to address all of them or provide a thesis on the history of war, as some others have, but I will highlight a few areas.

The Greens support the reforms to make it easier for trustees of patriotic funds to provide support to veterans and their dependants. 

We know at times the law needs modernisation, and these amendments appear to address some areas that I am sure have been unnecessarily restrictive and of great annoyance to trustees, so we support them.

We also support further clarification of powers for Consumer Affairs Victoria to take action, particularly against rooming house owners who fail to comply with their record-keeping obligations regarding safety checks. It is something that affects a lot of people in my electorate, which has the second highest number of public housing tenants in the state and one of the highest in the country. We know the public and social housing system is broken; the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing said so yesterday.

The members for Essendon and Frankston have said things along the lines that nobody would dispute the need for boarding houses or that boarding houses are part of the broader mix of public housing. They are currently, but I hope the government and particularly the member for Essendon, who has a large amount of public housing in his electorate, which I deal with on a day-to-day basis, understand that boarding houses as they exist currently are far from adequate and that instead of just seeing them as an established and perhaps necessary part of our social housing mix, we should be investing much more in public housing and social housing, but particularly public housing.

The bill goes some way towards fixing a large problem, although it is a small change to deal with boarding houses. I hope the members for Frankston and Essendon advocate within the government for a significant increase in investment in public housing and opposition to the sell-offs of the 12 000 units of public housing that the previous government proposed.

The Consumer Action Law Centre raised some concerns with the Greens regarding the wording of clause 8. I believe these concerns have also been raised with the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation without success, so we will continue to liaise with Consumer Action Law Centre and may consider moving an amendment in the upper house. On the whole the Greens will not oppose the bill.

 

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