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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2301 ..



support because it highlights the fact that, although funding has actually been cut for an organisation such as Volunteering ACT, the spin doctors have made it appear as though more money has been allocated.

Despite the government's protestations in its responses to the Estimates Committee report in relation to the senior executive service, this is something that needs to be watched. It is certainly true that there are not a huge number of senior executives, but a 15 per cent increase over a very short period is not insignificant.

Mrs Cross asked a lot of questions at the Estimates Committee about empire building. Certainly, we in the opposition have some very real concerns about this. There is a proliferation of senior executive service positions, and I think any government needs to keep a watch on significant increases in what is a small territory. Whilst not as bad as the proliferation of executives federally under, say, the Whitlam government, this is a slightly unhealthy sign and it is something that certainly I would suggest the government watch very closely. It is also certainly something that I think the Assembly needs to watch very closely. I think it is very important that the Estimates Committee has drawn this to the government's attention. Again, I am not super satisfied with the government's response.

Mr Speaker, I am happy to support Mr Smyth's amendment, which I think is eminently sensible. I would hope that he has the support of other members of the Assembly as well.


(3.48): Mr Speaker, in rising to speak on this budget line and my leader's amendment, I would like to refer to a number of areas in the Chief Minister's Department that have an impact on the whole of government and, through that, the people of the ACT. I must begin, Mr Speaker, by pointing out the complete failure of this government to come up with any initiatives in this budget in relation to women.

The government went to the election with an undertaking to set up a select committee-this was one of its many reviews; during the election campaign we came up with a list of, I think, 74 reviews-to look into the status of women. To their credit, and with commendable alacrity, in December 2001, almost before they had put a dent on the seats of the government benches, they came in here and set up this select committee. The committee worked for almost a year, and since then there has been nothing.

Is this what is going to happen with all of the 74 reviews that were forecast by the government in its election phase? We have had a review and a report by the select committee, but it is a damp squib. The women of the ACT have been heartily let down if they were expecting that, as a result of the work of nearly a year by three members of this place, contributions from the community and 83 recommendations, 82 of which were agreed to by this government, something would be done. But there is not a word in this budget about women. None of those 83 recommendations has been translated into money or into programs in this budget.

Budget Paper No 3 is full of initiatives but there are no initiatives relating to the status of women; there are no initiatives relating to grants programs for women, which were recommended in the report; and there are no initiatives to address issues of violence

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