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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 2 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 497..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

discuss their application and outcome more fully and advise of possible alternative action. There is a range of support options for unsuccessful applicants. For example, applicants are referred to other agencies where generic and existing funded services are available.

Agencies have been notified of the outcome of the funding round and we will continue to work with unsuccessful applicants on other options within existing resources. Disability ACT respects an applicant's privacy and right to peruse or not to peruse funding outcomes. Therefore, all applicants are invited to contact the department if they wish to have more information or advice.

Mr Speaker, the government receives data on unmet need as an outcome of each funding round, including the 2004-05 funding process. To address the needs of people with disabilities, the government has already committed to a significant increase to funding, including $21 million in its first term of office-I repeat, $21million in its first term of office. Finally, the government will further examine funding priorities in the upcoming budget. I hope that this information will be useful for Dr Foskey.

Attorney-General

Debate resumed.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella-Leader of the Opposition) (3.32): Mr Speaker, in moving this motion, Mr Stefaniak has sought to clarify a great deal of concern that has arisen in the community about where the government actually stands on the coronial inquiry. I point members to the heading on page 2 of the local newspaper this morning, "Residents set up web site for protests at delay to fire inquiry". Yesterday, the Chief Minister, in answer to a question, said, "This goes to a fundamental principle that justice should be done and that justice must be seen to be done". The feeling of the public is that justice is not being seen to be done. Why isn't it? It is because we have a Chief Minister who was a witness before the inquiry, who is also the Attorney-General and who has the ability to add to the protest of nine individual citizens, thereby throwing up a view of bias against the coroner. He is also the man who will receive the report.

Is that fair? Having the guy who runs the system, who has actually played in the game and who can decide the rules make the final decision is not justice being done. He is in charge of the system. His actions have been looked at by the system and, in the end, the system may actually make a comment-we are only saying may-about his actions in relation to the fires of 18 January 2001. The Chief Minister goes on that the scales of justice not be weighted one way or the other. Why are all the weights in this case sitting on his side? Why is it that the people of the ACT feel that way and why is it that they are now organising protest rallies and, at the same time, going out and organising web sites to keep each other informed of what this government is doing to thwart the process of the coronial inquiry? I read from the article:

Web site organiser Laurie Buchanan, whose Duffy home was destroyed by the firestorm, said ... "We shouldn't have to protest ... We've got businesses to run, families to look after. We shouldn't be out on the street, but we will if we have to".


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