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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1409 ..


departments, and indeed whole departments, out in the cold. What about librarians and their impact on education and the wellbeing of the community? They are not essential? What about, for instance, Treasury officials who might help rectify this mess? They are not essential? Indeed, what about planning officials, which I am sure most members would agree is probably the biggest issue that we often face in this place? But, no, they are not essential either?

A staff freeze is rather meaningless until other parameters are agreed to. And what we need is more guidance from this Treasurer—guidance that we are not likely to get when you remember that when she assumed the Treasury portfolio this Treasurer thought that it was all about guesswork and estimates: “It’s just guesswork.” That is the level to which this Treasurer sees the putting together of the budget: it is just guesswork. And remember that in December 2008, when the full impact of the global financial crisis started to unroll, we were going to have a stimulus package. By the end of January it was reduced to a local jobs package and then in February apparently we were too small to stimulate. That is the attitude and the skill set of this Treasurer.

This is a very important motion and it calls on the Treasurer to do two things. It calls on the Treasurer to prioritise spending in the budget context to ensure that core services provided by the government are protected and that vulnerable Canberrans do not pay the price of the government’s fiscal ill discipline over the last eight years—and, let us face it, the only way to describe the last eight years is eight years of reckless spending. Every year they received additional revenue above what they expected; every year they managed to squander it.

On the subject of vulnerable Canberrans, you only have to go to the ACTCOSS press release from Monday, 15 February this year to see the effect of eight or nine years of Stanhope-Gallagher government in the ACT. The press release is entitled “One in ten having to be turned away” and it states:

The Australian Community Sector Survey, released today by the Australian Council of Social Service, shows demand for community sector services in the ACT continues to grow.

“These figures show that demand for community sector supports is high, but we are being hampered in our mission to work with Canberra’s most vulnerable by inadequate funding and onerous contract requirements,” commented Roslyn Dundas, Director of the ACT Council of Social Service.

What did ACTCOSS say? Their attempts to help the most vulnerable are being hampered by inadequate funding and onerous contract requirements. Some of the key results were:

over 50% of community sector organisations reported they were unable to meet demand for services;

Local agencies turned away one in ten people who were eligible for their services. Of people turned away 53% were seeking child welfare, child services and day care;

62% of respondents disagreed with the statement that ‘Government funding covers the true cost of delivering contracted services.’ And 51% agreed that


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