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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2241 ..


quantum of that would be, but there is no question that what the Shepherd Centre is doing, in purely fiscal terms, is saving the ACT money, both in the education department and also in disability.

Mr Doszpot has outlined the financial problems, as did Ms Hunter. I am disappointed to hear that Mr Barr has not taken the time to actually visit either Noah’s Ark or the Shepherd Centre. I am reasonably sure that if Mr Barr had seen what I saw on Monday he would have some clarity about this. He would know that he needs to act right now to make sure that these two organisations do not fall off the edge of the cliff and that they have the funding they need to take them through to the proper process. I hope that process means in the longer term that they get the funding that they need, because they are both doing fantastic work in our community. At least Mr Barr has got to address this ridiculous situation where they fall off the edge of a cliff.

It seems that Mr Barr is too interested in making time for media events. We have seen the number of times that Mr Barr appears in the Canberra Times or other media with his media advisers, smiling for the cameras, at all sorts of events. The people at the Shepherd Centre and Noah’s Ark would have seen that as well, and they would rightly question why it is that Mr Barr can take time for those sorts of media events but he cannot make the time to meet these two most important community organisations.

So while Andrew Barr is out to his media events, while Katy Gallagher is sipping wine in the south of France, while Simon Corbell is counting his monergy, while Jon Stanhope is opening public art, and while Joy Burch is an accident of politics, simply warming a frontbench job until someone slightly more stable than John Hargreaves or more competent than Mary Porter is elected, what are they doing for this community?

Collectively, what I see from those opposite is a bunch of uncaring, self-serving incompetent second-rate hacks. If you think I am angry, I am. If you had been out to the Shepherd Centre, if Andrew Barr had been out to the Shepherd Centre, if others had, they would know that we should be angry that this situation has been allowed to occur here in the ACT. Young children with disabilities are about to fall off the edge of a cliff because this minister is either too arrogant or too lazy or too obsessed with his own media appointments to go and visit these two community organisations.

The priorities of this government are wrong. If this government cannot afford the money to support these two organisations, while they can spend in the order of $50 million on an arboretum—that is the total budget that we have seen so far from the arboretum—when it is spending $2.5 million a year on public art, when it is putting up statues of prime ministers—(Time expired.)

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (11.43): The ACT government provides a wide range of supports for people with disability in the ACT, including children. Until 2009 the Australian government provided funding to states and territories under a four-year arrangement for the provision of the non-government centre support program. This program supported the delivery by community sector


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