Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5094 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
Why has ACTION's financial management been so poor that its current assets are not sufficient to meet its current liabilities?
MR CORBELL: ACTION is not a government business enterprise that operates on a full profit basis. ACTION, a public transport or community benefit provider, has its budget supplemented by the government to provide a level of services. The issue that was raised by Mr Cornwell is not one that is of concern to the government simply because ACTION is not an entity that is designed to operate on a commercial basis and it is not required to make a profit. ACTION is operating within its budget and it meets the requirements that are set out in its contracting arrangements with the government. ACTION is working within its budget and it has done so for the past two to three years.
MR CORNWELL: Can the community be confident that the planned acquisition of new assets will proceed, given that the Auditor-General said that ACTION does not currently have sufficient assets to pay for those new acquisitions? Will the government deliver the planned acquisition of new assets-for example, buses and new equipment-given that the Auditor-General found there are insufficient assets to pay for those new acquisitions?
MR CORBELL: The government has supplemented ACTION's budget to enable it to buy new buses. The money is already available in ACTION's budget. That means that the government can buy those new buses.
Mr Cornwell: But you cannot meet your debts.
MR CORBELL: I do not believe Mr Cornwell knows what he is talking about.
Education-children with disabilities
MS DUNDAS: Mr Speaker, through you, my question is to the minister for education. Minister, what expert advice have you received that convinced you that the new SCAN process that is being used to assess support needs for children with disabilities in our schools will properly assess support needs for children with autism and related learning difficulties?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Dundas for the question. There was a great deal of work that went into putting together the student centred appraisal of need process which the government has been implementing in schools since mid-way through this year. I received extensive briefings from the experts that were involved in putting that package together, plus from representatives of the working group that were involved in putting that SCAN process together prior to it being implemented in the schools. It was a very thorough and thought-through process. I think it has been going very well.
We have had very high rates of participation in the process from parents completing all the assessments in the special schools and moving into the learning support units throughout the mainstream schools. It was always going to be a very difficult process to implement with the support of all the stakeholders involved, because it does relate to resourcing for students with disabilities. I think, from my experience in the disability sector, that has always made stakeholders in that process very nervous, because it has not usually been about increasing resources to the area. I was very conscious that there could