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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5231..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

I ask the Assembly to note the Dangerous Substances Bill 2003 and the explanatory statement.

Debate (on motion by Mr Pratt ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Status of Women in the ACT-Select Committee

Report

Debate resumed from 21 November 2003, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That the report be noted.

MRS DUNNE (11.52): As we are approaching the end of the year it is timely that we debate a matter such as this. It is a little over a year since the Select Committee on the Status of Women reported. Members of the opposition would like to take this opportunity to remind the government that it came into power with a flurry and a flash. It said that it was going to do great things in the area of the status of women. To its credit, it did what it said it would do-it set up one of its interminable committees which reported after considerable deliberation last year. Since then there has been thundering silence from the government.

The government eventually tabled its response, which was so late that no initiatives were included in the last budget for the area of the status of women. At the time the new minister made a valiant attempt to explain this discrepancy by stating, "There are all these things in the budget that relate to people and women benefit from them,"which was true and which sounded like an argument I would use on a regular basis.

I said earlier that this government came into office with a flurry and a flash. When government members were in opposition they were good on the rhetoric when it came to committing money to projects. However, they are not prepared to continue with that rhetoric now by providing money for programs. This government talks the talk but it does not walk the walk.

I take this opportunity to remind government members that community members, who placed great store on the work of the select committee, expected a great deal after the government tabled its response to this report. The government laboured long and hard, made a number of recommendations and entered into agreements relating to those recommendations, but since then it has done nothing.

When the next budget is framed-we are discussing this issue today as it is early in the budget cycle-opposition members and other members of the Assembly expect the Chief Minister and the Minister for Women to provide some programs that are in the recommendations that they have agreed to. Debate on this issue will serve as a reminder to the minister that it is time she did something about the status of women in the ACT.

MRS BURKE (11.55): I am rather surprised and disappointed, given this government's supposed strong stance on and commitment to the status of women, at the sheer neglect of women's issues in the budget. We have waited for a long time for initiatives from this government but we still have nothing concrete. In defence of the responsible minister,


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