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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2163 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Of course, we have already had this discussion to a degree in the Estimates Committee, but I want to get it on the record that when you look at the key result areas, where we have been told to look to see how the Government has proved its performance in social matters, there is nothing there particularly referring to the issue of social equity and ensuring that our society is a place where people can have a reasonable quality of life, regardless of whether they are particularly rich or poor, a place where all have access to what are regarded as the necessities of life. A distinction always has to be made between relative poverty and absolute poverty. When you look at the reports that have been produced on this subject around Australia, you see that distinction made.

Both relative poverty and absolute poverty are important. We are seeing an increase in people experiencing absolute poverty. That is measured in homelessness and the number of people who are being fed by charities in Canberra. Relative poverty is also important. Relative poverty is defined as whether or not you have the same ability as other people in society to access the opportunities that are regarded as necessary for a reasonable standard of living.

I refer the Government to the Western Australian report on poverty. I think it would be useful for them to look at that. It was produced in response to the United Nations International Year for the Eradication of Poverty, which was 1996. This report came out in 1998. If government read that and took notice of it, they might respond in a more positive way to the sorts of concerns that were raised in the Estimates Committee. It really is not just about people making a fuss for the sake of it without any supporting evidence, which is the impression that is given from the Government's response. They write off those comments, as if they are not proven. In fact, the truth is quite different. I will get on to more evidence to support that in a minute.

We were told to look at the key result areas. They are a strange mixture. They do not give a sense of balance at all, in my view, despite the claim made by government. There are three financial key measures relating to information technology. There is one related to health, which is basically IT as well. That is about a customer identifier. Another one is about police and safety. Redeveloping the city, a sort of capital works thing, is another. What about competition policy and what about greenhouse? And, as I said, there is nothing about social equity.

I will comment at this point on the one related to the environment. Reducing greenhouse emission levels is an environmental imperative, and everyone has recognised that. But it is concerning to see that that is the only key result area that the Government has focused on in terms of the environment. We would like to have seen a recognition of the broader environmental concerns. The value that the community has put on the environment that we have enjoyed in Canberra to this point is reasonable compared to many other cities. It is not just about greenhouse gases. There are a lot of other issues of concern.

The Chief Minister also referred us to the measures of success. If you look at the measures of success, you will see that there is inconsistency in them. Population growth is the first one. Then we have interstate migration, unemployment rate, and education levels and participation rates. Implied in those measures is an object. Education levels and participation rates are a measure of how many people in our community are educated and how many people participate in education. That is

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