Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 2032 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
sound programs and I am sure will be carried into effect in due course. I have confidence that if and when - I believe it is a when - a Labor government is returned those programs will continue and that there will be a more enlightened administration, Mr Moore, that you can work much more effectively with. It will not have some of the more narrow-minded views that are being purveyed.
The disappointment for me is that, although I do not believe the drug problems in Canberra are any less than the drug problems anywhere else in Australia, there has been a response from the Federal Government to some aspects of those problems in other parts of Australia, but there has not been a response to the problem in the ACT. That is a cause for concern. It suggests to me the standard Federal Government lack of interest in the ACT, and that is a particular disappointment. In the end we bring it back to particular people, as I have. The lad I mentioned was not going to be helped immediately, even if an announcement had been made. If we get that speculated money down the track, we will have lost some period of time, six months perhaps, in which programs could have been put into place.
I think Mr Moore has been fairly generous in his comments. He acknowledges that we are all concerned to get these programs up and running to counter just some of the problems that we face in the current drug epidemic. I do not think any member in this Assembly wants to ignore those problems. We all want to attend to them. The disappointment is that we cannot now start planning as we had expected we could.
MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (4.38): Mr Speaker, I would hope that everybody in this Assembly was 100 per cent behind improving our services in the ACT for drug-affected young people. As I have been quoted many times as saying, I believe that the one significant hole in our service delivery at the moment is a residential facility for younger people who have problems with drugs. There is no doubt about that. I understand that when applications were sought for funding from the Prime Minister's drug funds the community in other States put forward a large number of proposals. However, in the ACT only one treatment program was put forward. That was a program put forward by the Ted Noffs Foundation and ADD Inc. for a residential facility that they were working very closely with the ACT Government on, with a view to using Watson Hostel or at some stages other facilities. We believe that that is the major hole in treatment programs in the ACT.
We have since found out - Mr Moore alluded to this problem and I have alluded to it - that the cost of running this facility and the amount of money the partnership wanted to run this new facility are significantly greater than the allocation that could be made to the ACT on a pro rata basis. It is my understanding that the Federal Government went back to the Noffs Foundation and ADD Inc. and asked them whether a smaller allocation would be appropriate. In other words, if we got our fair share, would that be the way to go? The answer was no, that would not be the way to go. It was either the total, in other words enough to run the facility, or none at all. Unfortunately, because the amount that was requested was some three times the amount that could be allocated to the ACT on a pro rata basis, the decision on that funding round was none at all.