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Despite the rhetoric to the community and the promises to Mr Michael Moore, the education budget has not escaped either. The Australian Education Union has revealed that $4.5m is to be cut from existing operations. This will reduce curriculum support, cut school maintenance, increase evening college fees, and reduce staff supplementation. I have already quoted from Mr Haggar's comments on that matter, but I cannot resist doing it again. He said:
If Kate Carnell had advertised her pharmaceutical products in the way she has advertised the Education Budget, Consumer Affairs would be prosecuting her.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies curriculum position has been axed. So much for a government that occasionally mouths words about social justice - but not in this budget, I notice. You would search in vain for social justice topics or words in this budget document.
The most serious problem with the budget is that it simply does not address the needs of our community. The Belconnen indoor swimming pool is nowhere to be found, Mr Hird. The residents in Gungahlin have been told to wait, for how long they do not know, for an emergency services centre. The Liberal philosophy is that these will not be provided until the money to buy them is available in the capital works budget, and under this Government that capital works budget is shrinking fast.
The Labor Party would propose an entirely different approach to the priorities for this budget. We would provide the facilities and the services the community needs. We would protect those in our community who need government services to make their daily lives meaningful and fulfilling. Our first priority would be jobs for our young people. This budget does nothing for the young people in our society who are looking for jobs in Canberra that will take them into adult life. They are left to be some of those 2,500 leaving Canberra or joining the unemployment queue. We would provide support for job creation programs. We would provide assistance to projects in the information and technology areas - areas that have shown significant job growth in Canberra in recent years - not simply support for the Gungahlin broadband project, which was a Labor initiative anyway. We would proceed with much needed community facilities. Not only do such projects provide social infrastructure, but there is a flow-on effect through all sectors of the business community. Measure this against the 1,000 jobs that will be lost as a direct result of the reduction in capital works by the Liberals.
We would have ensured protection for the most vulnerable members of our community, our children. We would have provided funds for mandatory child abuse reporting, to ensure that no longer would cases of abuse be ignored simply because the resources to investigate and deal with them are not available. It is a tragedy and a disgrace that a city that likes to pride itself on its proud record of reform lags so far behind most other States and Territories in this crucial area of justice and social reform. In another area of social reform - the integration into our schools of students with intellectual and physical disabilities - we would have provided for a further 12 places within the system.