Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 3588..
the cornerstone of our society, and I firmly believe that. It is an agency that supports our most vulnerable, provides supports and services directly or through funding to our fabulous community organisations, to ensure that all in our community get access to services that they need and that they are all given the opportunity that they need.
I would like to close by saying thank you to the staff of the Community Services Directorate, from the director-general right down to front-line and support staff, across all lines and offices in areas within the directorate. It has been an absolute honour for me to be a minister for such a great organisation that does such good work for our community. I absolutely know that Canberra is a far better place for the work that the staff of the Community Services Directorate do, each and every day.
MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (12.27): Just as funding questions in education were all pushed through to await the outcomes of the Gonski review, so too in disability is this directorate hanging out every hope for salvation on implementation of the national disability insurance scheme. Lest there be any misinterpretation by Minister Burch, the Canberra Liberals have always supported the concept of a national disability scheme, and it is pleasing that the ACT has been selected as one of the trial sites.
However, what has been of some considerable concern to many is the Chief Minister's open admission at the time that she had no idea what it might mean financially for the ACT. Given that other states hung back and brokered a better deal for their states perhaps suggests that our Chief Minister was a little too quick to simply follow without some due consideration and negotiation.
Equally opportunistic and perhaps just as unready is the minister for disability, who staged a launch which would have to be one of the most carelessly advertised events for such an important announcement. We had a minister and several speakers who not once managed to make any mention of cost, and still have not; and a chair of a stitched together committee who admitted she only found out who was on her committee when the minister read out their names at the event. We had a number of members of the disability community who simply were not invited—in fact we did not get an invitation to this either—in this rush to capitalise on the publicity that the Prime Minister's announcement had generated. If that is not bad enough we had the Greens' spokesperson saying at a disability forum that, as the money "has to be borne somewhere we may as well get on with it".
Our concern is the damage that is made by following in the wake of a Prime Minister who is intent on saving her own political neck by announcing the expenditure of billions and billions of dollars without proper financial accountability. The same careless approach has been demonstrated by this government in its relationship with Canberra's very informed and very professional community services sector. Canberra is endowed with a number of excellent service providers and they do much within at times some very limited financial frameworks and challenging circumstances. So it was somewhat galling for them to be told they would be subject to 0.34 per cent for community sector reforms, a decision made with little consultation—no consultation, in fact—and a great deal of insult involved in such payments.