Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3689 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
The government, in its response to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates, said that it would be liasing with the community sector to determine the level of assistance that might be required in assessing the impact of fires and reassessing applications. Those are positive responses from the government. We would like that to be done in a timely manner and we want the community sector adequately resourced to be able to perform the work with which it has been tasked. I read with interest the government's response to recommendation No 2 of the committee regarding the funding of award increases for workers and community organisations. The government said that a subcommittee had been established that had been tasked with examining government funding of community sector wages and salary costs. That subcommittee is yet to meet. I again ask about the timeliness of such a subcommittee meeting, discussing issues and moving them forward. I know that those committees have representatives from ACTCOSS and Unions ACT.
Additional funding in this Appropriation Bill will be going to Unions ACT to help it participate in a consultation process that has been established by the government. It would be good to see that process expanded to include other community organisations that are working their way through the many consultation processes that have been established by the government over the past few years. They are seeking to represent the voice of the community and to make their issues known. Even without the allocation of additional resources they are still providing an increased level of service delivery to their clients.
Referring to other parts of the Appropriation Bill, I cannot find fault with the Treasurer's view that the amount of $350,000 to acquire the Hotel Kurrajong represents a bargain. I was a little confused when I heard the Treasurer talking about the school that is still continuing to operate at the Hotel Kurrajong, despite the fact that statements have been made that that school should not be subsidised by ACT taxpayers. We seek further information as Hotel Kurrajong negotiations continue. What is the future of the hotel school? Will it remain in that facility? If so, what rents will the ACT Government receive for the lease of that building?
I also welcome the government's announced intention to purchase land at Majura for an ACT prison and, hopefully, a motor sports facility. I find it a little curious that the government will not appropriate sufficient money for pay rises through enterprise bargaining until negotiations have concluded-the ACTION EBA is a case in point-yet it is prepared to appropriate money for the purchase of land from the Commonwealth when a price has not yet been negotiated. There has been a lot of discussion about the need for this Appropriation Bill versus the Treasurer's Advance and good accounting measures, et cetera. I am pleased that the Appropriation Bill is being utilised for a number of other things for which it was not originally intended, as that will alleviate the burden that has been placed on the Treasurer's Advance. However, we need ongoing justification for what we are talking about and some kind of consistency about what is being put forward.
When the report of the Select Committee on Estimates was tabled I made some points about the additional appropriation for the construction of new community space as part of the Griffin Centre redevelopment in Civic. I state again that costs such as that should not have been allowed to blow out; they should have been dealt with in the initial phase