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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 712 ..

Tuggeranong and Erindale Youth Centres

MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Children's and Youth Services, Mr Stefaniak. Minister, I was deeply disturbed to read in today's Valley View that there appear to be some troubles with the Tuggeranong and Erindale youth centres and that they have temporarily had to close down some of their programs because they have run out of money. It seems from reading the article that your office and the Youth Centre Management Committee disagree on how the funding should have been spent and on why they have suddenly run out of cash. Mr Stefaniak, what is your understanding of this situation and what inquiries have you made, or are you intending to make, to get to the bottom of this disturbing situation?

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for the question. It is always disturbing when things like this happen. The Tuggeranong Youth Centre Management Committee is working closely with the community and youth development section of the department to resolve some financial and staffing difficulties which have been developing over a long period of time. These difficulties relate to the accumulation of a relatively small shortfall in their cash flow situation and to a lack of management systems and structures for the direction and guidance of the coordinator and staff. The management committee there, Mr Speaker, has acknowledged that it needs to take a stronger management directive approach towards the efficient functioning of the two youth centres and has recently sought advice from the community and youth development section in relation to that. Members may not be aware, Mr Speaker, that the Tuggeranong Youth Centre and the Erindale Youth Centre are in two separate locations but are run conjointly.

The board of management has indicated that the coordinator, who has recently taken up employment elsewhere, was inexperienced and somewhat disorganised and needed more direction than it realised. However, the board does not believe that there has been any misuse of money or any illegal actions involved. Funding issues should be resolved shortly, when the last instalment of funds for the current financial year is paid to the centre in a few weeks' time. The service will receive this instalment when it has demonstrated to the community and youth development section that it will be able to resolve its small amount of cash shortfall and operate within budget until the end of the year. The management committee is also working closely with the community and youth development section to ensure the best possible outcomes for the young people in Tuggeranong. This could include the development of some new management and service delivery structures. While the management committee is working through these issues, the centre will attempt to maintain a reduced service, which includes a drop-in service. However, this could mean some temporary closure for a short period of time.

MR OSBORNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Thank you, Minister. You just said that the past coordinator was inappropriately appointed. I am certainly not trying to infer anything about the previous person there; but, given that the yearly budget for this particular youth centre is just over $200,000, I believe, what controls are currently in place to make sure that competent coordinators are appointed in the future and we do not have the situation that we have just finished up with?

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