Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3829 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
As the Chief Minister has indicated, this Government takes very seriously its commitment to the disabled. That is why we spend 30 per cent more on them. That is why in education we spend 10 per cent more than any other State or Territory. That is why the CIT is at this moment attempting to increase from, I think, about 3 per cent or 31/2 per cent to 6 per cent or more the number of disabled persons doing courses which lead to an educational outcome. Hopefully, that is something that other States will be doing, too.
The CIT is looking after the disabled in terms of providing courses and delivering good educational outcomes that can get them into jobs. Might I say that surveys indicate that those in jobs are among the best employees you can have. They have a very fine record.
How that should be funded is another thing. Mr Wood would be well aware, having been an arts Minister, that there may well be some possibilities in the arts and other areas. For example, my colleague Mr Moore, whose portfolio covers disabilities, may well be able to do something in relation to assistance.
Mr Wood: Wash your hands of it, say that it is not your responsibility.
MR STEFANIAK: No, far from it; see what can be done to assist. The program obviously is one which people enjoy. It is a creative program. There are possibilities. The Chief Minister said that she would have to take that on notice. I will too, Mr Wood, because I think there are a number of areas in government, the arts and health where there may well be some ability to continue this course in some form. I do stress that there is, I think, a Barnardos program which is very similar and which may well be the answer. That is certainly something that we will look at, Mr Wood, but the CIT does have to manage its courses.
This program is not one which delivers, as such, the normal educational outcomes that we would expect of an institution like the CIT. It may well be a program that can be taken up elsewhere. There is a very similar program being run by a non-government organisation. Since the point has been raised, there are a number of things that this Government will look at and then take whatever action is appropriate. But I think it is rather bad to bag the CIT in terms of this matter as they have a very fine record and are actively taking steps to increase the number of disabled persons involved in education programs which will actually move them into meaningful jobs. I reiterate for the members present that recent surveys show that they are excellent employees who are highly valued by their employers.
MS TUCKER: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services and relates to his proposal to corporatise ACTION and set up a new regulatory framework for public transport in the ACT. Minister, in the last sitting week, you released a discussion paper on the proposed content of the public passenger transport regulations and standards, with a closing date for public comment of 3 January 2000. Why are you