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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 2031 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

The total ACT budget for alcohol and other drug services at the moment is just under $4m a year, so the budget for the proposed facility and after-care component would be almost 30 per cent of this money. We have to be very careful how we spend the money, but we have identified this gap and we have worked particularly hard to ensure that we deliver the service for the people of the ACT.

This is an important issue. I thank Mr Stanhope for raising it. I hope he appreciates the efforts the Government is making to deliver.

MR WOOD (4.31): Mr Moore said during his speech that he brought good news. The speculation is that some time down the track, if Dr Wooldridge is returned, he will provide some funding for an urgently needed program in the ACT.

Mr Berry: Maybe.

MR WOOD: Maybe. I am not sure whether it is good news for the parents of a 15-year-old lad who contacted my office last week. He has a drug problem, I think a minor drug problem at this stage, though their anxiety is that it will develop into something more significant. They are very concerned about his behaviour as well, and they find that there is no ready answer in this town to his problems.

There are two particular problems. One is the level of control that should be imposed on the lad. Secondly, if some stronger control was to be imposed, what would you do with him? He would be ideally situated in a facility such as has been discussed today, a facility for younger people who have some problem with drugs.

It is good news to him, I suppose, that maybe down the track there might be the possibility of some funding. Of course, I hope that that does eventuate, Mr Moore, whether it is through you applying further pressure to Dr Wooldridge or the Leader of the Opposition applying some pressure to an incoming Labor Minister. I hope it is not the case that the Prime Minister has shafted Michael Moore once again. I have not had an answer to why it is that announcements have been made in other States but no announcement has been made about the ACT. That concerns me. Why is it that arrangements could be put in place for everywhere else but here?

Mr Moore: When they originally announced the money a year ago, I said that it was not going to be enough for the ACT to do anything substantial.

MR WOOD: That does not answer my question, though. It was John Howard who shafted the heroin program, regrettably. We all agree that his action was not the best action. Once again, we are not getting very far in this respect. The programs that Michael Wooldridge has put in place on behalf of Mr Howard's Liberal Government, I think, are good ones. They are pertinent; they are addressing the issues. Mind you, they are addressing only part of the problem and the larger problem still is not being attacked properly. These programs that have been mentioned today are effective and

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