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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 162 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I present the Government's response to the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio Public Accounts Committee Report No. 8 tabled on 24 September 1998. The committee's report canvasses two reports by the Auditor-General on lease variation charges - report No. 10 of 1997 and report No. 2 of 1998 - and it raises several questions in its five recommendations. These recommendations include matters raised in the Assembly by the former Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning, legal advice provided by the Government Solicitor, and the possible refund of moneys paid as change of use charge where a lease has a "residential purposes only" clause.

I am pleased to table a government response which explains our policies and provides specific information. In doing so, I remind the Assembly that there have been significant legislative and administrative reforms since those pre-1995 lease variation cases were brought to the attention of the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General acknowledges this in his second, follow-up report. Mr Speaker, I would also remind the Assembly that the reform process for planning policy and legislation is an ongoing one.

Certain questions posed by the standing committee are being addressed in our current legislative program, as the Government advised previously. I expect to introduce amendments to the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 and regulations which will resolve questions of all lessees paying the correct amount for redevelopment which adds value to their assets.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Discussion of Matter of Public Importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Mr Hargreaves proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The provision of youth services in the ACT and its correlation to emerging criminality and youth self harm.

MR HARGREAVES (4.23): Mr Speaker, I rise at this time to raise within the Assembly an emerging matter of public importance relating to services for our young people. I know that the Minister for Health has a commitment to reducing the incidence of attempted and successful suicide among young people, and I know that the Minister for Education and Community Services has a commitment to young people. Indeed, the Government is to be congratulated on its youth suicide prevention strategy launched recently, and it is timely that we discuss this because Suicide Prevention Australia is having its sixth annual conference in March. I would hope that senior officers with the power to implement programs attend this conference. However, Mr Speaker, there is every indication that the services we provide are lacking in key areas and are becoming disjointed at best.

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