Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 951 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
It was very interesting that Mr Corbell spoke on radio about the need for the Government to reflect the needs of the youth centres. Wrong, Mr Speaker! We are here to reflect the needs of the people who use the youth centres. That is what this is all about. Yes, those opposite should be very upset about this because they did not bother asking the kids who use them or, most importantly, the kids who do not use them and maybe need them. There is any amount of examples of reasons why, from time to time, centres like youth centres need to be reviewed and why we may need to come up with a different approach. Neither of those youth centres will be closed. Both youth centres are desperately needed in the town centres. There is no doubt at all about that. I state right here and now that there is no change of funding. In fact, in the outyears, the funding is there. There are no reductions, Mr Speaker, but let us have better services.
Mr Corbell was lobbied by somebody who obviously would like a three-year contract for their service and obviously would like not to have to go out again in 12 months' time and tender for their own service, or a service they perceive to be their own. Potentially, there will be a different service in 12 months' time. The approach that we take under service purchasing agreements is that if there is a new service it goes out to tender. If a service continues, we are willing to work with the people who are there. I think that is a very appropriate approach, and it is one that we have been working on very closely with ACTCOSS.
Mr Speaker, the bottom line here is not about cheap political points. We have certainly seen a straight-out personal attack on me today.
Mr Berry: Poor you!
MS CARNELL: Yes, it is all right. I can cope. I am not overly worried. The decisions that were made, as I am sure the Minister already said, were made by Cabinet after a quite significant debate on the needs of kids. The fact is that this Government will continue to reflect and to act on the needs of the people who use our services, not the needs of the services themselves. I cannot believe that the members of this Assembly would not take the same approach.
The Civic and Woden youth centres will not be closed, but I have to say that the services that we put out to tender in 12 months' time will very definitely be tailored to the needs of the kids who use them, and the services that we will have will not necessarily close at 5 o'clock in Civic. The services that we have in the future will be open when the kids need them. We will have more services available for kids of indigenous backgrounds, kids from non-English-speaking backgrounds, and the kids who fall through the cracks and whom those opposite could not give a stuff about. They would rather have a go at me. I can cope with it, Mr Speaker, if the outcome is better services for young people.
MR BERRY (9.03): Mr Speaker, I have to say that the Chief Minister is at her most disingenuous today. It is very clear from the complaints that we have received that the officials from the Civic and Woden youth centres were negotiating in good faith for a three-year contract right up to the point of signature. When they went in to sign the documents they were informed that officers had received instructions that, of the eight youth centres, six would get three-year terms and two would not. That was a decision