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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4406 ..

MR WOOD: I will tell you what was unexpected, but I will go back into the history just a little bit first. Early on in my career as minister for housing, I would think in January and February, I received reports arising from the audits that had been undertaken that there were works that needed to be done in respect of fire safety in our buildings.

Mr Smyth: So it wasn't unexpected.

MR WOOD: Wait a minute. At that time ACT Housing was seeking a program of something like $2 million a year to improve the fire safety standards. What did happen that very significantly changed the circumstances was that in that process we got a legal report that Mr Stanhope has referred to, and the legal advice made it imperative that we had to act and also that we had to be seen to act-that we had to recognise that there was a problem there and we had to attend to that problem. We had to take immediate steps-and I am sure the lawyers over there understand this-

Mr Stefaniak: You should have sought and secured appropriation, shouldn't you?

Mr Pratt: Was there a safety management authority-

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Mr Wood has the floor.

MR WOOD: We had to take immediate steps to signal that we recognised the problem. That was when it became urgent and that was a result of that legal advice.

Youth grants

MS TUCKER: My question is for the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services. Minister, in the budget estimates hearing on 24 July you advised the committee that grants to the youth sector were awarded 1 per cent indexation this year, rather than the 2.5 per cent as awarded to the community sector generally, or the 2.9 per cent indexation set for rates. You also advised the committee that this cut was a one-off and that the next budget would return the youth organisations to equity with others in the sector. Minister, you might also recall that your government supported my motion in November acknowledging both the value of the community sector and the chronic under-funding which it endures.

In that context, then, can you assure the Assembly that grants to the youth sector will not be cut across the board and that your department is not looking to save more money from the under-resourced youth services sector in the community or within the department itself?

MR CORBELL: Can I seek some clarification from Ms Tucker. Are you referring to the upcoming budget?

Ms Tucker: Yes. Indexation.

MR CORBELL: In the upcoming budget or in this financial year?

Ms Tucker: No, in the coming budget.

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