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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3315 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

reality is that we are ending up with those children. So it is necessary to look at these sorts of proposals, but not if they are not properly resourced. This is a very, very serious issue. I ask members to support this because I think it is in our interest to keep this piece of legislation working properly.

MR WOOD (5.24): I am not going to support this, but I am going to support Ms Tucker. I was amazed that the Chief Minister and the Minister got stuck into Ms Tucker. I cannot see why. It is not so amazing that there was some dissembling going on at the same time to discredit Ms Tucker. It is not unusual in this chamber that members distort the facts - not that I would ever do that. But the fact is this: Ms Tucker is proposing to take aside one part of this Bill and look at the resources necessary to deal with it. She was not proposing to pull out the whole Bill and go through it clause by clause and go into a full community consultation. That was known. So why get stuck into her?

The committee I chair was once offered much the same opportunity with a Bill just as complex as this one, and said, "No, thank you, we don't see that as our role". It is also a different matter to present drafting instructions, as Ms Tucker was, as we were, as distinct from a Bill itself with the wording of a Bill. So to say that because Ms Tucker knocked back that opportunity, if that is the word, it was some indication she did not want to work is just nonsense.

This Assembly knows how hard we all work; certainly Ms Tucker no less than anybody else and a good deal more than anybody else, given she is one person who tries to cover a large field. I do not know why the attack was made. It was totally unnecessary. The point was a valid one, though I have indicated we are not supporting it. Do not get into personalities tonight. I do not think there is any need to.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (5:26): I am not going to say anything more about the funding, apart from what I said before. I said how much we are spending and how we have actually increased it. It may be unlikely that it will be required for implementation of therapeutic protection orders, in that we have increased funding and we do actually at present spend a considerable amount. I have already said how this is an ongoing process in terms of the Government always looking to see if anything additional has to occur.

I do not have a crystal ball and cannot say definitely what might occur there. I can say that we have increased funding. We spend a considerable amount of resources already applied to services for exceptionally troubled and high-risk young people. Family Services provides funding for residential care and treatment. We are dealing with only a very small group of young people likely to be the subject of these orders.

The practice indicates that this could be estimated to be something between one and four per year. I notice the Chief Magistrate confirms small numbers again today. I think it would be wrong to apply these orders to large numbers of young people in this way.

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