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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1570 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

The Democrats support the measures to improve consultation with the community, measures such as the health summit and better consultation on mental health services. But we all want to see timely government action flowing from the recommendations of such consultative forums.

Although I recognise all these positives in the statement, there are some areas where I believe clear government policy direction appears to be lacking.

There was nothing in the December statement on proposed measures to reduce problem gambling. Nor did the statement promise any innovative approaches to drug abuse. We are still waiting for the government's renewable energy and waste management policies, which are integral to the sustainable development of Canberra.

And detail on housing policy still appears to be lacking, although the government has declared its commitment to providing "quality accessible, affordable and appropriate housing for those in need" and has initiated the affordable housing task force.

I hope to see these missing policy areas dealt with in more detailed government statements issued in the near future.

Despite my recognition of the positives in the government's broad policy direction, the government should be aware that the Australian Democrats do not abdicate responsibility, and we will scrutinise all legislation and motions presented by the government.

One thing we will be watching for is instances where the positive statements presented by the government in ministerial statements conflict with the detail of the government's initiatives. One such example that has arisen in recent weeks is the motion relating to property disputes between former de facto partners. The government's stated commitment to "political equality, legal equality, social equality and, above all, equality of opportunity" was conspicuously absent.

I await the follow-up to these objectives with initiatives. Consultation and reviews are a vital first step, but the success of this government will be measured by whether or not real benefits are delivered to Canberrans and the people of the ACT.

MR CORNWELL (4.08): Mr Speaker, I rise to make a small point about ministerial statements. I am rather concerned that ministers can make these statements totally ignoring wishes of the Assembly. Mr Quinlan looks a little askance at this. I was interested to read in the ministerial statement of the Chief Minister:

The government will move to implement key recommendations from the report by the Assembly on elder abuse in the ACT.

The report on elder abuse in the ACT was tabled in this Assembly in August last year, in the time of the previous government. We went to an election before that government could respond to the recommendations put forward by this report of the Standing Committee on Health and Community Care. I find it passing strange and unacceptable that the Labor Party, now in government, can state that they are moving to implement

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