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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (22 May) . . Page.. 1614 ..

MR DE DOMENICO: I will make sure that I get a set of those guidelines, Ms Horodny, and give you a copy. Once again, if ACTION refuses advertising that it determines to be political, I say to ACTION, "Good on you". If we start accepting political ads from every organisation that wants to place one, there will be no space left on ACTION buses. I will get hold of those guidelines and give you a copy.

Child and Adolescent Unit

MS REILLY: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, there are many families in the ACT which are totally dependent on social services for their very survival. Removing even one of these services which they receive can threaten the very viability of a family. We hear frequent criticism that many cuts are being made to individual services without any consideration being given to the flow-on effect of these cuts. Chief Minister, the Child and Adolescent Unit, as just one example, has now been reduced to half a day a week in Belconnen. In that period, the unit cannot come close to handling the demands of the many often severely disadvantaged families living in the Belconnen area. Are you aware that these families are now faced with a two-bus journey to Woden, with all the inconvenience and expense involved, and that the inevitable consequence is that many of those who most need help from the unit are denied it, with a direct link to child abuse and other serious problems? What will you do to remedy this?

MRS CARNELL: It certainly appeared to me that that was much more of a political statement - - -

MR SPEAKER: I took it as general background.

MRS CARNELL: It did not lead anywhere, but that is all right. I am very happy to answer. Ms Reilly, the issue of making sure that our meagre resources will stretch to providing the best services we can is one that every government has to address. The previous Government had to address it as well. It would be lovely to be in a position where we had enough money and enough resources to have every single service in exactly the place that everybody wanted it to be. Unfortunately, that simply cannot always be the case.

Our child and adolescent services and our early intervention services in the ACT are very good services. There are times when they are overstretched - there is no doubt about that - but on the whole I believe that they do a very good job. I am disappointed if there are people in Belconnen who find that travelling to Civic is too much of a burden. If that is the case, I would be very happy to hear from those people. We may be able to organise some sort of pick-up and delivery service for them.

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