Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2844 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
employed in Canberra, can probably relocate to other cities fairly easily. The submission argued that people with lower level skills are more inclined to remain or be trapped unemployed in Canberra; that, in fact, despite our relatively low level of unemployed, we have an entrenched long-term unemployment problem; and that government industry investment in the community sector rather than its usual new industry targets would deliver better employment outcomes, better community development outcomes, better revenue and expenditure outcomes.
Similarly, the government's knowledge fund is a concern because there are no performance indicators for this in the budget. This is a substantial new initiative designed to provide quite "a strategic mix of grant and equity funding to enhance the creation, use and diffusion of knowledge in the ACT economy". Such a description could as easily have been written by the previous government. It appears to say everything and nothing.
Again, it would be nice to know how this knowledge fund will fit in with the visionary notion of a sustainable society that is yet to be properly developed. That it will be overseen by a board comprising representatives from universities, other research establishments, the business sector and venture capitalists is no reassurance.
Meanwhile, government is giving a $10 million grant to the national ICT Centre of Excellence-although we have no idea of the process to determine which block of land will be given away. Similarly, the car race millions appear destined to stay with CTEC, despite the inadequacies of its management of that event and the concerns that many of us have with the fairly indiscriminate support of the tourism industry of past years.
One of the key criticisms that the ALP made of the previous government was the ad hoc nature of its business support. Now it is in government, I think it needs to ensure that the same processes do not continue.
MS DUNDAS (3.54): The appropriation for the Chief Minister's Department is a grab bag of programs-some are fine, others questionable, whilst others are nothing but missed opportunities. Budgets are about priorities. They enable executive governments to lay down their priorities, and the Chief Minister's Department is no exception.
The support shown for indigenous and multicultural communities is welcomed. A step in this direction, however small, is at least a step in the right direction. The support shown for these communities totalled $330,000, or roughly $40,000 less than the support shown for the establishment of two deputy chief executives in the Chief Minister's Department, and half of that being spent on the review of the management style of the department. Whilst not opposing the change in organisational structure of Chief Minister's, it is sobering to compare these figures. Two public servants against the total new projects to support our indigenous and multicultural communities. As I said before, budgets are about priorities.
The Office of Women within the Chief Minister's Department must have been out of the room when the Treasurer was handing out the goodies. As my colleagues have mentioned, there is nothing for women in this year's budget. There is no money to implement the recommendations from the Chief Minister's own inquiry into violence and women, nor is there any money set aside to look at the recommendations from this Assembly's inquiry into the status of women.