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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3685 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

political allegiances. It is no secret that the Labor Party favours the union movement and that the Liberal Party is interested in business, for instance, though not exclusively and not totally for either of us. But there needs to be a much cleaner and neater process when money is expended in this way, as it appears to be virtually a gift without any contracts or directions attached to it.

On the issue of inviting not-for-profit community organisations to indicate whether they require additional resources to participate in specific government activities/consultation processes, the government response was:

The Government is currently developing a whole-of-government approach to funding services through non-government organisations to support the longer-term sustainability and capacity of the community sector.

It went on to say:

The approach aims to achieve greater clarity, consistency and security in funding arrangements.

I am sure we all welcome that. It is perhaps long overdue. The criticism from a number of community groups about how the community sector fares was levelled at governments of both ilks and is something that we should certainly take on board.

The committee made a recommendation that the government urgently renegotiate funding levels with Family Based Respite Care Inc, FABRIC, as a result of the bushfires, and the government's response was:

The Government considers that the issues raised by the Committee do not relate to bushfires.

Well, I can tell you-and you can look at the transcript-that FABRIC spoke about the effect of the bushfires on their budget, both in delivering services over that time and on costs. They had not had the opportunity to put together what the bushfires and their extra efforts required there had cost them, but there are also emerging costs. If the government is saying that this is just a bushfire-based appropriation bill, why are the Kurrajong, land at the airport, Unions ACT and some EBAs in it? The Treasurer cannot have his cake and eat it too. However, as there are some worthy items in the bill and the Liberal Party believe it should be passed, we will be supporting it.

MS TUCKER (11.23): I rise to speak in debate on the Appropriation Bill 2003-2004 No 2. The normal process for appropriating money is to have one budget and an additional budget only for unusual events. The previous government also used additional appropriations at odd times, for example, two months before the end of the 1999-2000 financial year, which was just after the budget for that financial year had been presented. While I signal that those appropriations should be kept to a minimum-and that is something we should all attempt to ensure-Liberal members should not pretend to be so shocked. Many more items are apparent in this bill than were apparent after its brief introduction, so it is a good thing we had an estimates committee. I thank that committee for its work and for its report.

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