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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1822 ..

MS TUCKER: If ACTEW are looking at this, would you agree that they should be obliged to pursue alternative electricity sources that are less polluting than coal-fired electricity, as part of meeting their legislative corporate objectives of being socially responsible and promoting ecologically sustainable development?

MR DE DOMENICO: As I said, I will take Ms Tucker's question on notice. But, in terms of whether I agree that ACTEW should do something based on whether they are involved, there are three hypothetical questions. Should ACTEW be involved? That is up to ACTEW. If ACTEW believe that it is commercially viable for them to generate electricity from methane gas, I am sure that they would do so. However, I will get the details, Ms Tucker, and I will come back to you with a detailed answer.

Sign Interpreter Service - Funding

MS REILLY: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, have you withdrawn funding to the temporary sign language interpreter service? Are you aware that the service will be forced to close its doors tomorrow? Are you aware of the consequences of this mean-spirited action on the deaf and hearing impaired? Will you immediately restore funding for this service which is of such vital importance to the deaf?

MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Ms Reilly, for that question. Certainly, there has been a lot of correspondence floating around from the ACT Deafness Resource Centre about funding for the sign interpreter service generally. On 7 February 1996, a meeting was held with representatives from the Department of Health and Community Care and the ACT Deafness Resource Centre to discuss their proposed submissions. The first was for a research project to look at the need for a sign interpreter service in the ACT. The costings that they put on that were some $10,433.76. The second was for the establishment of the sign interpreter service, which came with a recurrent funding requirement of $86,246.

It was agreed that the aged and disability section of Purchasing and Development would fund the research project for $10,443.76, and the cheque was forwarded to them. Presently, there are no recurrent moneys available to actually fund the interpreter service itself, that is, the $86,246. Remember, Mr Speaker, that this proposal is not about slashing at all. The service never existed. That is the story, as I understand it. In fact, the Government, in February, funded the study to look at the need for the service. We are now going to have to look, in the budget context, to see how we can find $86,246 and whether we can find that for the service itself. There are simply no recurrent moneys available in this financial year for that service.

The ACT Deafness Resource Centre itself receives $23,208 in recurrent funding from the disability services grants to employ a part-time community support worker. There may be some ability within the ACT Deafness Resource Centre program to utilise some of the DSG money, that is, the $23,000, to establish an ACT sign interpreter service, at least in the short term. There are also a number of migrant interpreter services currently

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