Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1926 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
They are the parties involved, and they put it to me very clearly. They told me that the Chief Minister's office had instructed officers in Mr Stefaniak's department to offer only a one-year funding arrangement. I cannot understand any other reason why two youth centres would say that. Why would they lie? Why would they lie, Mr Stefaniak? Why would they lie, Mr Moore? They would not lie. I know that the Government is feeling a bit sensitive on this matter. I know that Mr Stefaniak is feeling a bit sensitive on this matter, because it undermines his authority as Minister, whatever is left of it. It concerns me that this decision could have been made in such an arbitrary way in respect of services that were assessed as being eligible for a three-year funding arrangement.
The department has written to the two youth centres concerned and has indicated to them that they believe youth centre funding is contestable. They have also indicated that they believe that a review should be undertaken of the services provided by the Woden and Civic youth centres. The question I ask is: Why are they doing another review of these two centres when one was completed less than 12 months ago? It seems to me that this Government is not particularly interested in giving some certainty and security to the operation of these centres.
The Government says that all youth centre funding is contestable. That is news to the youth centres and that is certainly at odds with the Government's own report from its own consultant that said that funding to youth centres should not be contestable because the centres provide core community services that cannot be provided for in the contestable framework which the Government wants to apply in a whole range of community areas. What is going on with the Woden and Civic youth centres? These are Canberra's two most effective youth centres in terms of the sizes of the populations they reach and the number of young people they serve. I am sure that many of the other youth services in Canberra provide equally effective services, but these are the largest two. What is going on? Is it because they sit on valuable land? Is it because the people who run them have been outspoken? Is it because they are actually interested in issues that affect young people and are prepared to criticise government policy when they see it as failing the needs of young people?
These are the sorts of issues that were raised in the Estimates Committee, and we have not yet seen them answered. I may resume some of these comments later in the debate.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (5.15): I rise to speak on a couple of issues. Mr Berry spoke about the level of funding to education. I am going to say this very slowly so Mr Berry can understand it. The way Mr Berry counts, he is counting the $1.9m twice. If you count the $1.9m twice, you might be able to come to the conclusion that Mr Berry comes to. Unfortunately, Mr Berry is wrong, because he is counting the money twice.
Mr Corbell raised the Woden and Civic youth centres. How that information was conveyed to the youth centres is not necessarily inconsistent with whether or not the Minister personally takes responsibility for it. That decision, like most other budget decisions, was taken by Cabinet. That should clarify any possible misunderstanding for you, Mr Corbell. I do not believe that the people at the Woden Youth Centre or the Civic Youth Centre attempted to mislead you, nor was it inconsistent, when they said that the