Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1795 ..
MR DE DOMENICO: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for her question. As the Leader of the Opposition would be aware, the Government has maintained expenditure on labour market programs at $1.6m, at the same level as set by the previous Government in the forward estimates. Over the last two years the former Chief Minister would have been aware that Commonwealth Government expenditure on labour market programs in the ACT area has doubled and this year is to reach $7.2m, compared to $5.9m last year. This is programmed expenditure only, as Ms Follett would also be aware, and does not include staffing costs associated with the CES and other Commonwealth job services. Recently the Prime Minister, when asked about the high national unemployment rate for teenagers, pointed out that the majority of teenage Australians were in education, training or work. Compared to the national scene, the ACT is doing much better. Nevertheless, the ACT Government is committed to doing what it can.
Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I have asked Mr De Domenico specifically about four programs. I think he should address his remarks specifically to whether or not he has terminated those four programs, rather than canvass the issue very broadly, as he is showing he wishes to do.
MR DE DOMENICO: If the Leader of the Opposition wants a direct answer to that question, not all four of the programs that she mentioned are going to be terminated.
MS FOLLETT: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I ask Mr De Domenico to let the rest of us in on the secret of which of those programs are to be terminated. He apparently has that information in front of him. On the question of labour market programs, I also ask: Other than the new enterprise incentive scheme, which you have cut from $4,000 to $2,000 per recipient, in what labour market programs have the benefits provided been reduced?
MR DE DOMENICO: There are a number of programs that the previous Government funded willy-nilly on the spur of the moment and did not put on budget or in the forward estimates. As I have said, some of those programs will not continue to be funded by this Government.
Ms Follett: Which ones?
MR DE DOMENICO: If the Leader of the Opposition would like specific details of particular programs, I ask her to put the question on notice and I will answer it.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Mr Speaker, I am searching through the standing orders to find out where a Minister is permitted to refuse to answer a question. The question was without notice. There is a tradition of answering such questions. Why not answer it?
MR SPEAKER: Mr De Domenico did not refuse to answer. He asked that the question be put on notice.