Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1084 ..
MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):
Media attention has been placed on the slugs, such as increased parking and traffic fines to raise revenue. I will closely watch to see whether they reach these targets or whether, instead, these measures will scare motorists from offending and thus result in a downturn in expected revenue. But our future is in tourism and jobs. I encourage anything that we can do to promote these two areas. Projects such as the Kingston foreshore development have much to offer, and we must make the most of these opportunities.
I am pleased to see employment having a focus in this budget. Most particularly, I applaud the resources being set aside for the older unemployed age group - people aged 40 and over - in the Restart program. This is a disadvantaged group, which has been crying out for assistance. I think we all know someone in this age bracket who has been faced with the task of having to start a new career. I am pleased that it is an area that has not been neglected. Preparing people for employment starts in the classroom. There is considerable emphasis on information technology industries in the capital. To ensure that our kids get the first shot at these jobs, they must have computer skills. The best way to achieve this for our children is to teach the basics at an early age and to make competency with computers a way of life. The Government's goal of providing a computer for every full-time teacher by the end of next year and one computer for every two students by 2001 is a good one. Again, I will be watching that closely.
In my own electorate, Ginninderra, there are two areas which I do applaud - firstly, the improvement to Calvary Hospital's accident and emergency section and other sections of the hospital; and, secondly, the urban revitalisation of Charnwood. I must say that the Belconnen pool saga remains a concern that the Government still must remedy. We are all aware of the reasons that have been given for the construction of this complex not going ahead as promised so far; but that does not wash with the constituents. It is up to the Government to make sure that this project does go ahead, at least before the next election.
In the community services area, the much-needed injection of funds to mental health facilities is long overdue. It is a welcome inclusion. I applaud that injection to assist people with mental illness, and particularly juveniles with those problems. I must, however, criticise the lack of allowance for the implementation of the new phase of the SACS award. The initial introduction of the SACS award last year was never going to be the major problem.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I would like to remind the honourable gentleman Mr Osborne of standing order 41.
MR RUGENDYKE: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the majority of agencies were paying employees at rates similar to the base award anyway. The huge worry is the overtime and penalty rates that are just around the corner. They will be in before the year is out and, unfortunately, if assistance is not given, they will close services down. I do not believe that this is an overreaction. In the community services sector, it is an accepted fact that the refuges will not be able to afford penalty rates or the rates applicable to 24-hour services unless appropriate assistance is given to those services.