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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3018 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Proposed expenditure-part 14A-Disability, Housing and Community Services, $97,652,000 (net cost of outputs), $1,953,000 (capital injection) and $20,897,000 (payments on behalf of the territory) totalling $120,502,000.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (11.39): I move amendment No 5 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3097].

MS DUNDAS (11.40): While I do not disagree with the establishment of this new Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services, I am concerned about the way the government went in setting it up. The need for new budget papers and the division of programs have resulted in much confusion, not just as part of the estimates process but also in the community who rely on the services funded by the government.

Two main areas that have been moved around and split that I am particularly concerned about are the management of community facilities and the situation of CHADS, Child Health and Development Services. We now have the situation where the management of community facilities is split across two departments, depending on what type of organisation happens to be in the building. So we will see in the future, as organisations move around Canberra, the management of buildings jump between departments. We have also seen the preschool component split off from CHADS.

However, I was pleased to hear the department say that it will be working on a new way of working to help break down the silo effect of their being in separate departments of the ACT government. But, again, this is something that will continue to be monitored to ensure that the community is not suffering.

This new department has key responsibility for monitoring and implementing the outcomes from the Gallop report. I look forward to the government's response, which I understand is due quite soon, and to the continuing work required to ensure that those who need our support receive it in the best possible way.

MR SMYTH (11.42): Mr Speaker, the area of disability and community care is, of course, a very important issue in the budget, and the additional funds that the government has put into these areas are welcomed, but I just want to make the point again that, whilst there are additional funds, we have to ensure that those Canberrans who need, deserve and should have access to these services actually receive them-that there is no diminishing of the number of services that we provide.

The unfortunate thing about the timing of the restructure is that, as we found out at the Estimates Committee, the department itself is coming to grips with bringing together these areas and much of what it intends to do is still in the formative stage. The information that we were able to get through the Estimates Committee, whilst enlightening, did not necessarily reveal the full direction that the department will take. We spoke to the minister and the staff about that and we all understood that that was the case because of the changes.

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