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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1074 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

a much greater reliance on community-based care and it has not been working. There is a huge unmet need. I am happy to talk to Mr Moore about this later if he thinks this is necessarily going to meet the need.

There are extra dollars for health complaints, which I suppose is good; but on the other hand you wonder whether we need to be really excited to see the complaints going up that much. Maybe it just means that consumers are getting more aware of the complaints mechanisms, but you would also want to make sure it does not mean that more people have something to complain about. In Children's and Youth Services, I am really concerned to see the cut to the youth budget. As I have already said, that must be seen as an investment in our future. The potential benefits of investing in our youth are huge and are very important.

There are some good initiatives for the mature age unemployed. I am glad to see that because that obviously has been a focus of a number of people in the community for a while, although we seem to have lost some of the focus on young people instead, which is a problem. The expenditure for employment grants generally has been reduced, and I think this is going to impact on the on-the-ground community-based services to the unemployed. This program was already substantially cut in the 1995 budget.

In terms of the presentation of the budget, once again I will have to make a comment. Whenever will we get a budget where we can compare this year's figures with last year's? I asked Mr Lilley that and he said, "It will happen eventually; but we have a couple more years to look forward to it not being comparable, because each year we are going to be adding another aspect of operations into the charges for departments". It is quite difficult to ascertain, for example right now, when you just look at the figures. It is a different figure because now there is insurance, superannuation and so on in the departmental figures. No doubt there is a way around it and we will work it out; but it is difficult, particularly for people in the community. While people who are in this place can work with it, I think there are people in the community who are not happy with just the "budget at a glance" document. They want to really understand it, and I do say that it is still extremely difficult.

The Estimates Committee last year recommended that the 1998-99 budget provide that any material differences in the output classes between the budget and the current budget be documented, with an explanation of those differences. Once again the detail of the budget is very important, and it is going to take some time to digest the budget and its implications. There are a number of predictable smoke and mirrors tactics, and announcing money as new that was not spent last year - for example, the sobering-up shelter and the cycle paths.

Mr Berry: A quorum is required, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker.

A quorum not being present, and the bells being rung -

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hird): Order! I notice that the gentleman who called the quorum has left the chamber. Resume your seat, sir. You are in breach of standing orders. You have been in this chamber long enough to understand those.

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