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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3540 ..

Participatory budgeting is an approach that has been used successfully in other places around Australia and around the world to directly involve members of the community in decisions around how public money should be allocated. This approach is particularly useful for hearing from groups who may be most affected but are often not engaged by more traditional consultation methods, such as younger Canberrans and those experiencing disadvantage.

Last year the Assembly proposed that the government undertake a participatory budgeting exercise to help inform the 2019 budget process and we have started work on scoping this project. The better suburbs community engagement being run by Transport Canberra and City Services includes a pilot of this approach, with a group of Canberrans being asked to deliberate on how nearly $2 million for playground upgrades should be allocated across Canberra.

This is a promising new era for community engagement on the priorities of Canberrans and we will continue to explore its potential as we work to deliver future budgets.

Clubs—community contributions

MR PARTON: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. I refer to an article by your good friend and former Labor Chief Minister Jon Stanhope in the City News of 23 August. Mr Stanhope said:

The proposal to hypothecate community contributions to a central charity for disbursement is in effect to convert the contributions into a tax.

If the government is genuinely concerned that there are services and organisations missing out or falling through the cracks, then surely responsibility for that rests solely with the government. Labor and the Greens have, for example, cut funding in the current Budget for social protection and provided for growth of less than inflation for housing and health.

Why did the government decide to change the community contributions scheme into a tax?

MR BARR: We have not. So both Mr Parton’s question and the former Chief Minister’s commentary are wildly inaccurate.

MR PARTON: Chief Minister, what level of responsibility does your government have for services and organisations missing out on funding or falling through the cracks?

MR BARR: Most of the times where we have picked up the pieces of organisations that have missed out on funding and fallen through the cracks have been the result of decisions of the federal Liberal government. There have been countless examples of that discussed during the debates on the budget this year where we have in fact taken on the responsibility that the federal Liberal government have abrogated because they are so focused on dragging themselves even further to the right and focusing on themselves and not governing for the people of Australia.

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