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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 136 ..

MR SPEAKER: We are about to find out.

MR WOOD: We didn't get a debate on the issue-did we?-but on something else instead. My supplementary question to the minister is this: do you expect the $1.5 million will be anywhere near enough, given the high levels of documented unmet need in this area?

MR MOORE: Actually, Mr Speaker, I don't think $1.5 million will be enough. That is why we are putting in $500,000 this year, which will be increased so that, in effect, it is $2 million next year and $2 million the year after. That will be a very good starting point, no doubt.

Mr Wood will have the opportunity, when he examines the budget, to make a suggestion that we should put in more money to Disability Services. We will certainly look at that because this open government is prepared to listen to suggestions about our budget. We will be very keen to see where you think the money should come from. But, Mr Speaker, I have to say that I will be very willing to take to cabinet and to the budget cabinet meetings any suggestion of an increase even beyond that for Disability Services.

Yuruana Centre-funding

MR BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Education. It comes in the wake of the government's humiliation over expenditure in our education system and it being shamed into its move on class sizes in the territory. It also comes in the wake of the government's knee-jerk response to it being shamed again in relation to indigenous education facilities within our school system. I am going to give the minister the opportunity to paper over another crack in the sixth year of this tired old government.

My question relates to the crisis situation in relation to indigenous education at the CIT Yuruana Centre. The federal Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs has cut funding for Yuruana by $170,000, a cut that will continue for the 2001-2004 quadrennium. The cut will lead to a halving of the centre's staff, I am informed. We are not surprised by this cut because it comes from of a government that can't say, "Sorry."

The Chief Minister was informed of this problem in December last year-was that you? Yes, I expect it was-when he suggested that the centre approach the Minister for Education. I understand that the Minister for Education has been approached. We have all been around the merry-go-round. What are you going to do about it, Minister? How about papering up the cracks on this one?

MR SPEAKER: You cannot announce executive policy, Minister.

MR STEFANIAK: No, I cannot.

MR SPEAKER: I am just warning you. I will not allow it.

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