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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3836 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

There is also the question of a digital divide between community organisations, including countless refuges such as the Junction, Shelter, Youth Haven, People First and the Environment Centre. How does their IT compare with the basic ACT government set-up-or that of a law firm or supermarket? How do the office conditions of the economists in Treasury, who are making these decisions, or of CTEC out at Brindabella Park, compare with the flaking walls and wobbly boards in Directions ACT, which is still trapped above Croissant D'or in entirely substandard conditions?

Where is the planning and thought in allowing the replacement of the Griffin Centre to go ahead, foot for foot, with no strategic plan, no understanding of future needs, and absolutely no attempt to resolve the mess created by Gary Humphries and Kate Carnell?

It does not matter to the groups and organisations which use community facilities that the first and worst decision was made by one party and not another. What matters in the end is the result. When it comes to community facilities, so far with this government the result is still bad.

West Civic is the next opportunity. Even with a clean slate to work on, there is no indication yet that the result will be better-that the vital and exciting role community organisations can play will be properly considered in the planning process.

Apart from planning, there is also the very important question of how government supports and responds to innovation and creativity. Next time a youth centre and high school develop an out-of-school training program which provides new opportunities for kids for whom school is less and less an option, how about this government recognises innovation and creativity for what it is and ensures that that program gets the minimal support it needs?

Finally, and most importantly, I want to reflect on the clients, the patrons-the users of these community-based services; the people for whom the advocates advocate; the people cared for by the carers; the consumers of drug and alcohol and mental health services-the people who eat the free food. How do we value the people who are otherwise excluded? This motion is about them, and it is also about the environment. Our ethics, as a society, are reflected in how we support these people. These related services and advocacy groups are critical to the building of social and environmental sustainability.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.00): Mr Speaker, the government is happy to support the sentiment behind this motion, which we take to be support for a healthy non-government sector and the important services it provides to the community.

I am happy to restate the government's commitment to a strong community sector. Non-government agencies play a key role in providing human services, particularly to those who are disadvantaged. They do this not only on behalf of the government, but also in partnership with the government. It is this partnership approach, in both service delivery and policy development, that the government is keen to foster. That partnership is well articulated in the compact-the document which sets out the principles behind the relationship between the community sector and the government.

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