Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 402..
MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, by waiting till September to respond to the Gallop inquiry you will not be able to include specific funding in next year's budget for initiatives in Justice Gallop's report. Is this the start of the Stanhope government's whitewash?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Stefaniak for the question because it does allow me to draw attention to the fact that in the election campaign last year the Labor Party, in recognition of the neglect that the then government was responsible for in relation to disability services, the provision of appropriate respite and the provision of appropriate mental health services for the people of the ACT and in recognition of the enormous gaps in service delivery within the community-particularly, as I say, in relation to disabilities, respite and mental health-promised an additional $1 million a year in each of those service categories, commencing next year.
From next financial year we will be providing, as a first step, an additional $3 million a year-that is, an additional $9 million over the next three years-for disability services, mental health services and respite services. We did that from our position in opposition in recognition of the enormous gap in service delivery that was a feature of your government. It was quite obvious to everybody that the gaps in services in mental health, disability and respite are so obvious and if you don't think they are obvious then you don't get around the community, you don't know what is going on.
Of course, I guess this is reflective of the comment which the Leader of the Opposition made on ABC radio this morning, that they deliberately did not know what was going on in relation to disability services because if they did not know they could not be held responsible for it. The Leader of the Opposition actually said that this morning. First of all he said that they didn't know anything. He quickly changed that and said, "Well we didn't know much."
Mr Stefaniak, we acknowledge the very significant gaps in relation to disability, mental health and respite and we have already moved, in advance of delivery of the Gallop report, in advance of consideration of its recommendations, to provide an additional $9 million over the next three years just in relation to those three issues.
MR STEFANIAK: I thank the Chief Minister for that answer and I ask a supplementary question. I am pleased to see that at least you are doing that. Given that the Gallop report states that I think $45 million was spent-
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Stefaniak, I am sure the government wants to know how pleased you are about what it is doing, but would you come to your supplementary question without preamble.
MR STEFANIAK: Given that the previous Liberal administration over the last four budgets increased funding by 42 per cent, and whilst I am pleased to see that you are providing $9 million over three years, when will we find out how strong your financial commitment is to disability issues in terms of your waiting until September? Does that