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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 245 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: There is a very simple reason why the government agreed to make that payment: it is the law. There is a requirement in the legislation that when a lease is surrendered the improved value of the lease is to be repaid to the surrendering lessee. That is the value that was determined for that site. Therefore, the money in question was paid-for no other reason.

Supported accommodation assistance program

MR WOOD: My question is to Mr Moore as the fairly new minister for children, youth and family services. Minister, the government is full of promises, but delivery is not so good, although my criticism is more of the former minister responsible for those services. After years of denial, late last year Mr Stefaniak provided advice that an additional $1.5 million would be available from 1 January this year to assist those in the SAAP program, the supported accommodation assistance program, to meet the SACS award. I recall too that Mr Moore was a bit less mean than Mr Stefaniak some years ago when that award caused problems. Mr Stefaniak promised $1.5 million from 1 January, but as yet I am not aware of any of this desperately needed money being delivered. SAAP, as I understand it, is in your portfolio, Mr Moore. Are you able to advise now or perhaps later how and when this money will be distributed, because time is getting away.

MR MOORE: Thank you for that question, Mr Wood. The money will be distributed in the same way as we have done it with regard to health in the past. The money is there for people who need it. In the health portfolio we set aside money to do that, but in purchasing services from community groups we went through with them what they needed to deliver their services in the most efficient way and to meet the requirements of SAAP. Sometimes, not every time, that required an injection of money. Sometimes they were able to provide the services in a more efficient way and therefore meet the requirements of SAAP from the money they already had. It was quite clear to us that we would not be able to get efficiencies in every service operating. Therefore, it was important to have a pool of money from which we could inject funds. I intend to operate the same system for SAAP services within the community services area.

I think we should see this as an opportunity to make sure we can deliver the most efficient and most effective service. Why am I interested in efficiency? The reason is that, if we can deliver services at a lower cost to government, that allows us to use the funds thus saved to purchase even more services for the people. Our first and foremost focus is on the people we are trying to make sure get the services rather than on the organisations that deliver the services. That does not mean that we ignore those organisations. Of course we do not. We want to work with them, and we will continue to work with them. But there is a priority issue. The people who get the services are our main focus, and that is why we will be using that methodology.

MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, your answer worries me. I think you have taken us backwards. I accept that you have probably given us a general answer about the way you normally handle things. The very clear impression from the questions posed to Mr Stefaniak was that this money was there and was ready to be delivered to those needs that had been identified, and it was about to be delivered. It was not that we needed any further review or consideration. I think if you inquire you will find it is slow getting out to where it has pretty well been committed. If you could go back and have a further look at that and take us forward, we would all be very grateful.

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