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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2995..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

You can always argue for more money in education; it is one of those areas where you can always find more need. I have met with Ian Morgan from the P&C association-I have been getting a form letter from a number of schools; they come through as they hold their meetings-and I believe his analysis is incorrect. His criticism is unfair on the government and I have told him that. I do not think his expectations in the budget were realistic.

He ignored the initiatives in the youth area that we funded around support for youth at risk and was just focusing on support for youth at risk in government schooling. I have had a discussion with him on that. I note that those letters are going around and I am responding to all of them. Ms Dundas mentioned the school based management report. I understand I will be receiving it in the next week, and I will be making the report public when I get it. That will be an interesting report, I hope. I thank members for their comments, and I hope I have addressed some of the concerns expressed throughout the debate.

Proposed expenditure, as amended, agreed to.

New part 1.19A

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming, and Acting Minister for Planning) (12.30): I move amendment No 3 circulated in my name, which inserts a new Part 1.19A, Office for Children, Youth and Family Support [see schedule 1 at page 3006].

MRS BURKE (12.30): We should be alarmed that, once again, the government thinks that simply glossing over issues with respect to accountability and responsibility and throwing money at a problem will make the problem go away. Again, I assert that this funding will need to change the culture of the department for us to see real benefit. Nobody is knocking back or decrying the money-and I will move on to that in a moment.

Much of the money, we are told, is simply to maintain current levels of service. We should also note that, for some reason, this government reduced its funding in 2003-04 by over $3 million, which I find quite amazing, even though it states that the number of substitute care days was 82,743, while the cost per substitute day care increased from $127 in 2002-03, to a target of $146 in 2003-04. So, again, we see less money for more service. I do not know if the minister wants to respond to that, and whether I have got it wrong, but that is definitely what the budget papers are telling me.

We will hear the cries of this government saying that this has been happening for years. With respect, when the government was in opposition for six years, it was saying that it was going to fix this up and fix that up. It has been in government for 21/2 years. It has taken the government that long to address a problem that it has been well aware of in relation to child protection services. It has been made aware of this problem by the Community Advocate on more than seven occasions since 2001, at least. How far back are we going to go? You have to maintain and take responsibility-

Mr Hargreaves: 1996!


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