Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2418 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
Standing Committee on Legal Affairs has recommended that aspects of this law be addressed, and that the law is currently extremely difficult to enforce-in light of the Ridgeway decision taken by the High Court. I am interested in obtaining more information on how this $1.6 million will be expended.
Another issue that I found interesting, during the estimates process, was discussion of the environment and the No Waste by 2010 Strategy. I found this budget very disappointing when it came to funding initiatives for the environment. Spending on greenhouse gas abatement programs was much lower than expected in last year's budget. Information on the solar hot water rebate scheme was not encouraging, and there is still no money to install hot water systems for ACT Housing tenants.
I am also extremely concerned about the government's commitment to the No Waste by 2010 Strategy, in light of the fact that the government will be spending at least $2.4 million on a new landfill trench, yet making no provision for kerbside collection of putrescible waste.
Whilst Mr Humphries has drawn our attention to discussion about education funding which took place during the estimates process, I would like to bring the Assembly's attention to the decision that was made by the government to provide a CPI index of only 1 per cent to those community services funded through the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services.
Whilst education is important and I understand the minister's desire to not cut services inside the school gate, I am concerned about the effects this cut will have on community and youth services. Education does not happen in the school alone. Some services provided within the school gate are not funded by the department of education. The youth and family sector could have fared much better in this budget-and vital services will undoubtedly suffer.
I have focused on some of the shortcomings of this budget, Mr Speaker. However, there are strengths in this budget. I commend the government's clear commitment to Canberra's health, the public education system, and the move to implement sustainability reporting across the government.
I also commend the courage of the government, in finding new revenue measures to support improved services. Undoubtedly, new taxes and charges are always unpopular, but it would be far worse for successive governments to cut the revenue base until there is next to nothing left to help people in need.
On balance, there is more in this budget with which I agree than disagree. I recognise that this government is responsive to community needs and requests-and this is a good thing. I am hopeful that the government will take on board the criticism set out in the estimates report, and that the next budget process will run a lot more smoothly.
MRS DUNNE(11.35): I rise in support of the report of the Select Committee on Estimates. Like Ms Dundas and the other speakers before me, I found that, for the most part, it was an informative and, as a new member, educative process. Also, for someone who has observed the budget process in this place from the outside for five years, it is