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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 1519 ..

MR SPEAKER: Relevance, Ms Reilly.

MS REILLY: They do not seem to be looking at the community sector here. I am quite sure that there are a number of community organisations at the moment - - -

Mrs Carnell: Relevance, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: I draw members' attention to what we are debating, which involves Health. I must admit that the particular division is Health and Community Care, but I would remind them that we are dealing with this issue. Please do not stray from it.

Ms Follett: She is talking about community care.

MR SPEAKER: Capital works is germane to this.

MS REILLY: Community care plays a very important part in the health of the community. Community organisations - - -

Mr Moore: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I have heard you raising this issue of relevance a number of times. I am drawn to standing order 58(b), which talks about the motion for agreement in principle to appropriation Bills for the ordinary annual services of the Executive. Although that is not exactly what we are talking about now, I think the standing orders recognise that the appropriation Bills are different and that they allow people to go a little broader in their discussion. I think it would be appropriate under those circumstances to have some tolerance in terms of the relevance issue here.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Moore, I think we have allowed a reasonable amount of freedom on this. However, I cannot allow references to Federal Government policies.

Ms Follett: Even when they are funding our programs?

MS REILLY: All right; I will not refer to Federal Government job losses any further. I remind the Assembly that we are fairly dependent on Federal Government moneys in the ACT, even though we do provide a lot through our tax revenues.

I want to come back to what the community must be considering when looking at this process now. The community organisations provide very many valuable services within this community that contribute to the health of the community, not just through doctors but also through looking after people, providing social interaction, providing a number of services that continue to support the work done by the health system here, and possibly also save money through providing a number of social services that they would not have access to in another way. I am quite sure, as there has been discussion of the mismanagement of the health budget and the requests for more money, that these organisations are looking at this process, and looking at it in fear, wondering what is going to happen to them next year. I am quite sure that the clients who use these services are also feeling grave fear. They see how you can just take money from one bit of the budget and put it somewhere else. You can allow slippage of quite considerable funds in the public works budget and it is just accepted.

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