Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2910..
MRS BURKE (continuing):
else. That does bring me concern because it is a lot of money-money I believe could have been better spent on the community sector. It is a slap in the face to those groups who work extremely hard in our community to currently give government the advice.
One member of this new board told me the reason for the formation of such a body. "These groups have never been able to coordinate themselves, Jacqui." I found that absolutely staggering, and I put the question to the government that surely they have the capacity to get these groups together. That is what the government are there to do. They are there to show leadership and demonstrate that they are the head and people can follow.
Surely it does not take this amount of money to organise an information flow. Or is the formation of this group simply a looking after mates exercise? Is it just a game, putting the government at arms length to decision making? I will watch with interest the outcomes of this board, and I sincerely hope that the Canberra community and the taxpayer get bang for buck out of the board because I have no doubt there are some excellently credentialled people on it. I will be watching carefully.
Business support could have been strengthened. I see a missed opportunity for this do-nothing government. "Steady as she goes. We'll just sit on our hands and hope and pray and keep our fingers, and everything else, crossed that it all steers quite nicely to the election. Then we'll think about what we do." We have got all these plans, we have had all these reviews, at an extortionately high cost to the community, and we have the glossy brochures from a government that was not going to do all this-from what I can remember when I was sitting where it is sitting.
Whilst I acknowledge a substantial increase for the Tourism Corporation, I see little or no direct funding commitment to micro and small business, and that gives me some concern. As I have said before, businesses will survive and succeed in spite of this government. They simply have to; it is in their nature to do so. I would say that we have a government that is not business friendly at all. It just wants to depend on something I have previously said: that business people are survivors. But a little bit of help from time to time would not go astray.
We all know that there has been a shift in employment in this town for the better and that we depend on our small to medium enterprises and micro businesses to do a lot of the employing now. Whilst I know there is the "if it isn't busted why fix it?" approach, businesses certainly could do with a lot more help than is out there. Again, the lack of new funding is a disappointment for those in small business.
MR STEFANIAK (5.10): Mr Deputy Speaker, I wish to use my second 10 minutes to talk about a couple of other issues-firstly, the one large issue I left out of my first burst on the sport and rec area, and that is the dragway. It was interesting to query several government ministers in relation to that. Of course, members will be aware that this government, whilst not seeming terribly keen to honour whatever commitments it did or did not give before the 2001 election, suddenly seems to have been spurred into some form of activity by the opposition's motor sport policy.
To give it credit, it is pleasing to see $8 million spread over two years for the dragway. That is exactly what we felt should be spent, and it is what the proponents have indicated