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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1147 ..


MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (11.27): I wish to thank the minister for providing us with a statement of his priorities. I note that in addressing community services and facilities the minister mentioned the need to improve the availability of space for events, meetings and other community activities. He also mentioned ensuring fair access to community facilities across the city. In addressing multicultural affairs, the minister also mentioned the need to make sure that migrant and multicultural communities feel included and welcomed and that they have a sense of belonging.

Those two priorities blend perfectly together in an issue that I raised in this chamber in February. I had been informed that policies for booking the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre would change this year. Community groups that have long held regular events at the centre, including weekly language classes and weekly events for seniors with language barriers, have been told that they are now limited to using the function room. In addition, a new charge has been placed on using the centre's kitchen, where previously this was included in the booking.

Community groups, however, claim that they were not consulted on this matter and were caught unaware by these changes. This causes friction and hurt feelings, not to mention creating logistical problems for community organisations that are fully staffed by volunteers and feel unsupported by this government, even where their activities help to fulfil stated government priorities. To my knowledge, this concern has not been resolved yet.

I wish to remind Minister Steel and this Assembly that, in order to make migrants and multicultural communities feel welcome and included, this government must include them in the consultations that impact them, increase the availability of community facilities and ensure that access to such facilities is fair.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Financial Management Amendment Bill 2019

Debate resumed from 19 March 2019, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (11.30): The opposition will not be supporting this bill. This bill does not "improve the accuracy of budget estimates" as the government claims. In fact, it does the very opposite. It allows the government to essentially draw on the reserve to hide its mismanagement of capital works and the budget at large.

The bill allows the Treasurer to utilise funding allocated to years in the forward estimates through the newly created capital works reserve, which means that any budget figures for the relevant financial year are pretty much meaningless. In effect, the government may spend what they have budgeted during the budget year or they may spend what they have budgeted for future years. This is not how we should be operating in this place. It obscures how much the government is likely to spend in any


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