Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2908..
MRS DUNNE (4.56): Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I hope that all members have held the thought that they had at half past 12 this afternoon. I was speaking about what I thought was the lack of imagination of the Office of Women when they decided that $8 million funding for the dragway was not an initiative that benefited women, presumably on the basis of thinking that women do not go to motor sports events. But many women do enjoy motor sports events, either directly or indirectly. They might go themselves, and it often affords an opportunity to get the men out of the house, which many women consider to be a benefit to them.
It was a bit condescending of the Office of Women to go through and run some arbitrary set of rules over all the budget initiatives and come up with the fact that 87 per cent of them were of benefit to women. We need to get ourselves a bit more focused here and come up with an appropriate statement on a women's budget.
There were some good initiatives in the women's budget. Ms Dundas has talked about the women's grants scheme, which is a modest start and may do some good. Even though it is a modest amount of money, and agency funded, I am impressed by the scholarships for more disadvantaged women to afford them training at the Institute of Company Directors. I think that would be a great step forward for us in this place.
There are other issues in the Chief Minister's Department that have been touched on. Ms Tucker has touched, quite rightly, on the extent to which the Office of Sustainability has a whole-of-government, coordinated approach. There are many occasions when you scratch your head and think that, if we really did have a fully functioning Office of Sustainability, we would have a better outcome.
Recently, during the visit to Canberra of Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, on one of the occasions I had the opportunity to speak with her and at the public lectures, she was very enthusiastic, saying, "You Australians have so much in your favour. You have so many tools at your disposal. You have progressed so far down the path of sustainability."
In a conversation afterwards, when I quizzed her on this and asked her what she thought was the best thing we had done going down that path, she pointed to the Western Australian government's initiatives in sustainability, the appointment of their Office of Sustainability and their sustainability reports, and the work being done by the personnel there, which far eclipsed anything that was done anywhere else in the world in relation to sustainability.
Again, it was not the ACT leading the country. What we hear about is the office being underresourced. We should not criticise the officers for not achieving as much as we would like them to because they do not have the resources and they do not have real backing, real impetus or real leadership from this Chief Minister.
MRS BURKE (5.00): I obviously welcome and support the funding for women and that the grants and programs continue to receive good support financially from the government. But I had to smile when I saw the WEL media release saying, "Finally