Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 943 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the most important element of my motion this evening calls on the Government to restore its funding offer to a three-year period for Civic and Woden youth centres effective from 1 July this year. We are not asking the Government to spend any more than they would normally do. We are asking the Government to fund these two centres because they meet exactly the same criteria as all the other youth centres in Canberra for this level of funding - triennial funding for those centres. Mr Speaker, if they are eligible for triennial funding they should receive triennial funding. Under the Government's own criteria, if they are eligible for that level of funding, they should receive it, and that is what we are asking this Government to do. That is exactly what we are asking this Government to do. It is not an unfair request. It is not an unfair imposition. It is simply asking for something that is decent. It is simply asking for something that was going to be done in the first place, until the Chief Minister intervened.
There are all sorts of important services that these youth centres have. There are all sorts of important facilities that they provide. But ultimately, Mr Speaker, the operations of these centres are dependent on a level of security of funding from the Government. I think it is simply unacceptable for a government to make a political decision that certain centres will be treated differently from others, and that is what has happened.
Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister has overridden her Minister for Education again, and this Assembly has to say whether or not it thinks that is acceptable. Clearly, this side of the house thinks it is not, because community services and youth services deserve to be treated on the same basis as that on which they are entitled to be treated under government funding criteria. That is what this motion is about. I hope that members in this place feel it is appropriate to support this motion and require the Government to provide the funding to these centres which they were always entitled to receive.
MR RUGENDYKE (8.30): Mr Speaker, I rise to support this motion. The issue was raised two days ago when Ms Kim Sattler from the Woden Community Service called to alert me to the amendment to their proposed contract. Ms Sattler came to my office, and Ms Tucker was also invited to join our meeting. We wrote to the Chief Minister seeking answers, and subsequently Mr Corbell lodged this motion we are discussing today.
My association with Kim Sattler goes back many years. We have had many dealings in the youth services area. We have been mutually involved in some serious and extremely delicate situations. I particularly applaud the Woden Youth Centre on their difficult and traumatic work regarding male sexual abuse. In fact, I have the utmost trust in Ms Sattler's professional dealings. So, when Ms Sattler came to me with her concern I knew that she was genuinely gobsmacked when she was advised that their funding agreement would be cut back from a three-year period to 12 months. Why would she not have been shocked?
The situation was this. I am told that the Government had spent 12 months conducting a review into service purchasing agreements and formulating a structure to assess funding categories. In November last year these two organisations were informed that they were rated in category 1, and all subsequent negotiations were conducted on the basis that it would be a three-year contract period. Almost four weeks ago Ms Sattler received the