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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1368 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

There are a range of challenges ahead of the city. They are not simply resolved through touch screens and kiosks and more computers in libraries. They have to be addressed by a range of other measures as well. The Labor Party will be continuing to advocate the need for those sorts of measures. I would hope that the government continues to follow Labor's lead in advocating that need and addressing the concerns.

MS TUCKER (3.49): The Greens also are pleased to see attention being given to access to technology. There are a couple of concerns I have. I understand that Ms Burke's task force produced a report with recommendations. That is as far as her work went, and it is now up to Mr Humphries to respond and fund the recommendations. I think there were some useful recommendations in the report, but I am more interested in understanding what the detail of Mr Humphries' response would be, which obviously will come later, so I will not go into that in too much detail now. As we have the opportunity to talk about these things today, I would like to raise some of the things I will be looking for in his response.

I am interested to know about the methodology of the task force. I am interested to see that 27 groups will be receiving a $11,000 grant or amount of money to assist them in dealing with these issues. When I asked who the groups were, I was told that that still has to be determined and that Mr Humphries' office is dealing with that. The question that comes out of that is: how was it decided to have 27 organisations? I would have thought most people would think that if you were interested in determining how best to bridge the so-called digital divide in the community you would do an assessment of need and you would look at the organisations currently supporting the community in the ACT. You would look at the situation in Canberra. You would then make a decision about where you thought people could most usefully be engaged and you would come up with the number after looking at who was doing what. It would not be a question of saying, "We are going to have 27 organisations, and we will tell you later who they are." You would say, "We have identified these groups who are key to bridging the digital divide, and we feel we have to fund 27 organisations," or 30 or whatever it is.

The next question I have is about the $11,000. Ms Burke did not go into detail on that, but I did speak to the person who was working with her and the information I was given-and Ms Burke can clarify whether it was incorrect-was that the $11,000 was determined by Wagner, the person working on the task force; that it could accommodate the purchase of two or three PCs plus maintenance for one year. If Ms Burke wants to say that that is not correct, then she can certainly do so. I am sure we will give her leave.

If that is the case, then I am interested in understanding how that amount was determined. It is a very small amount, depending on how the community organisation picks it up. If a community organisation decided to use that $11,000 to purchase three PCs, they would not be high-quality ones for that price, and there would be less money for maintenance. If they purchased only one PC, they would have more maintenance money. I am trying to understand the detail of this, and I am happy to have it explained.

I am particularly concerned, because everyone I have talked to in the industry and in the community has expressed concern about whether this is enough money to deal with what could be quite a large support requirement. I note that for InTACT, which services us and the ACT government, for telephones as well-I have not done the full calculation-we are talking about $54 million for 17,500 employees in 1997, the most recent figure

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