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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2530 ..

Proposed expenditure - Division 210 - Children's, Family and Youth Services, $45,512,200

MS McRAE (3.02 am): This, perhaps, is one of the most disappointing areas of the whole budget that we have had to look at. This is the area where we tried to find out what the Minister was thinking about regarding the implementation of mandatory reporting. If I take you back in time, we had already debated in the chamber the motion, not that mandatory reporting be implemented but that the plans for mandatory reporting become public and then be regularly reported on in the Assembly. That motion was actually not voted on, but the intent of the Assembly was quite clear.

It was a major disappointment to come to the estimates process and find that not only had the Minister not thought about it but also no other department had; nor did he have an interdepartmental committee; nor could he tell us where in the three-year budget that was before us was the incremental allocation of funding. It was made quite clear that this was something about which, although lip-service had been paid to it and it was an important area, nothing but nothing had been done. We were very disappointed to find out the level of shallow thinking, inappropriate planning and total lack of concern for how this looked in terms of a three-year budget.

We then found, a week or so later, when we were back in the Assembly, that the Minister had clearly realised his folly and he came in with this statement to add insult to injury. Finally, an interdepartmental committee was formed. What a revelation! Then $50,000 was allocated. What a total disgrace! This is a three-year budget, and $50,000 is all that they have found. There is absolutely no plan. A motion had been nearly passed but quite clearly supported by the Estimates Committee. It took that for this Minister to even begin to look as if he realised that there was an issue before him. There is not much in this budget to be commended, but this was totally and utterly disgraceful.

It is an issue of the utmost importance to the people in the ACT. I am not referring to the implementation of mandatory reporting. That is not the issue. The planning for it, the regard for it, the incremental resources for it are important. Then we find out that he comes through with the plan. What are we going to do? To train people in one area, with enough money for one trainer, is disgraceful. Why could you not have had three trainers?

Mr Stefaniak: You actually quite liked it. You went on ABC radio at one o'clock, and you quite liked it. Do not be so hypocritical, Roberta. Do not tell porkies, Roberta.

MS McRAE: Mr Stefaniak, I did not want to make a political issue of it.

Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Mr Stefaniak interjected that Ms McRae was telling porkies. I think that it is unparliamentary and needs to be withdrawn.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, I ask Mr Stefaniak to withdraw.

Mr Stefaniak: I will withdraw that. Do not misquote yourself, Roberta.

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