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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 953 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

This motion deserves unanimous support in this Assembly because of the events which have preceded it. Mrs Carnell and her office have been consistent bullies to people who disagree with them. It is unfair that the approach taken in relation to the Civic and Woden youth centres is along the same lines as the treatment that was meted out, or was threatened to be meted out, to ACTCOSS some years ago. We all remember that because it was unjust at the time, and it still remains unjust in my mind. It is also unjust that the action taken against the Civic and Woden youth centres has been taken in this way. For people to be negotiated with in good faith in relation to a three-year agreement right up to the date of signature and then have it pulled from under their noses is completely unfair. For the Chief Minister to say that the department had worked out that they wanted to do it a different way before that point is quite inaccurate and beggars description in terms of justice.

Mr Speaker, this is a motion that deserves support. The Chief Minister has not denied that she has taken this approach with youth services and community services and other people who are funded in the Territory, and I think that tells us all we need to know on this score. It tells us that the only just way to deal with this issue is to support this motion unanimously.

MS TUCKER (9.09): I will speak briefly to this motion. I will be supporting the motion. I listened to the Chief Minister's response where she claimed that she was interested in working with the needs of the young people, and not working with the providers of services. I thought it was pretty clearly stated, and it usually is in this place, that it is about partnership with people who use services and people who provide services. Of course, you have to treat both sides of those areas with respect.

The issue here, particularly in the community sector at the moment, is that there is a lot of angst because we now have the purchaser-provider split in place and we have competitive tendering. Community groups now have a lot of different issues to deal with in regard to competitive tendering, and we have had quite a number of discussions about it. There is a service purchasing report that has been produced. We know that the community sector is under stress. We know that they are people of good faith on the whole and that they are trying to work with government on this new agenda of competitive tendering.

That is why I think it is particularly disappointing when people work in good faith with government to come up with arrangements for funding and then see it suddenly change to a different department after 12 months' work. That is, basically, what has happened here, as I understand it. No-one has convinced me tonight that that is not the case, so that is why I will support this motion. It is not about not being able to be flexible with service provision. It is about respecting processes that are being set up and, particularly, respecting the community who have put a lot of hours into those processes.

I was also a bit concerned when Mrs Carnell was saying that she would like to see youth centres where non-English-speaking people and Aboriginal people went. From my experience, and I have talked to young people in the community, I think a lot of Aboriginal people are using the Woden Youth Centre. I think Kim Sattler is doing a pretty amazing job there, so I would like to defend what that particular centre is doing in that area.

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