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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3368 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

pleased about that. No doubt there will be some community groups who feel that they could use extra funds. I imagine, Mr Wood, that that will always be the case. It was certainly the case under the Labor Government. It certainly was the case when the current Chief Minister was the Health Minister, and I imagine it is the case in every jurisdiction in Australia.

Of course we would like to be able to have more funding to each of those groups, but we do it in terms of setting our priorities within the budget context. We have taken SACS seriously. We have negotiated with those groups and have tried to make sure we meet those needs. Mr Wood, if you are aware of a particular group that is having difficulties in this area, I would be very happy to respond to an approach from you in a positive way.

MR WOOD: I thank the Minister for that response. Could I take it from his answer that some organisations have been told that they will not receive supplementary funding and that they must fund the increases in salary out of their current budget by reducing staff, the hours worked and the level of their service?

MR MOORE: It is possible that that is the case in specific areas where the department feels that, in terms of its purchasing priorities that are set by government, we do not wish to add extra funding. The method of effectively reducing the funding of that area is to not supplement SACS. They still receive the same amount of money but do not get that extra supplementation. That is quite possible, but it is not a case of saying, "You are not entitled to that supplementation" in such a straightforward way as I think your question implies.

When it comes to the SACS award, the department has been very thorough in negotiating with each and every agency about what is the best way to do that. In fact it has also used ACTCOSS to facilitate negotiation and understanding of the best way to deal with the SACS award, as I understand it. Mr Wood, it seems to me that there are always community groups who seek to have further funding, and almost always there is a very good reason why they are asking for that funding. One of the difficult things for government, as you would well know, is to set the priorities and deliver where it is needed most.

Grassy Woodlands

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, in question time yesterday, in response to my question about the endangered state of grassy woodlands, you said that the ACT has 32 per cent of its original yellow box and red gum community still in existence. You then said that of that some 91 per cent is either in reserve or off reserve in areas where they should be reasonably safe. Could you tell me where you got those figures from, because in press statements made by your predecessor when grassy woodlands were declared an endangered ecological community in June 1997, and in the recommendation put forward by the Flora and Fauna Committee for its declaration, it is clearly stated that only 3 to 4 per cent of the original woodland still remains in the ACT? Also, in the action plan for grassy woodlands you released at lunchtime, it is stated that only 57 per cent of the woodland is protected in nature reserves and open space from the direct threat of clearing, and 33 per cent of the

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