Page 550 - Week 02 - Thursday, 17 February 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

review the government college system to ensure Canberra’s flagship colleges remain relevant and targeted to student needs; $56,000 for a dental health program to be operated within Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service; and $1.2 million across two years to provide government schools with interactive whiteboards that will give them the capacity to introduce new ICT-based teaching and learning methods.

The government continues to acknowledge the value of our staff and the depreciation of public sector wages and salaries over the past year, and has included funding of $47.2 million within this appropriation for enterprise bargaining agreements, to fund the difference between that appropriated in 2004-05, and the final negotiated positions. It should be noted that $47 million is included in the bill for wage negotiations. The impact on the operating result is only $8.9 million. Allowance was made in the original budget estimates for the bulk of this expense. However, appropriation was not provided to the individual agencies, as wage negotiations were not final. The $8.9 million, of which $6.4 million was identified in the pre-election update, is largely due to the recognition of prior year expenses and the impact on employee entitlements.

The bill also includes specific recommendations resulting from the Vardon report such as additional funding of $2.139 million for care and protection staff; the child at risk assessment unit; revision of the child protection manual and other support. Appropriation of $1.5 million provides for the operation of the asbestos task force, established under the asbestos law reform adopted late in the life of the last Assembly. In addition to the appropriation for the Vardon report, the Office of Children, Youth and Family Support receives appropriation of $4.504 million to address base and cost pressures. These pressures relate to items such as individual support packages, interstate transfers of juvenile justice clients and additional staffing at Quamby Youth Detention Centre.

The Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services is provided with, amongst other things, an additional $2.021 million for the increase in cost and growth in usage of concessions. That department will also receive $106,000 to provide additional respite services to primary carers 65 years and over. This matches the 2004-05 federal budget carer package respite for older carers initiative and will provide much-needed support for aged carers.

The Department of Justice and Community Safety continues with activities related to the coroner’s inquiry and the Eastman case. The department is provided with: $1.086 million for the Director of Public Prosecutions, of which $703,000 is for continued legal counsel; the Magistrates Court gets $383,000 for the coroner and associated staff, contractors and other associated operating costs in relation to the coronial inquest; and $1.136 million in funding for the continuation of the Eastman case, $217,000 of which is for the Director of Public Prosecutions, and $919,000 goes to the Supreme Court.

The Department of Education and Training will receive $3.1 million to meet increased demand for trainees and apprenticeships under VET, addressing skill shortages that have been discussed in public forums in recent times. Although the bill provides for $75.3 million in appropriation, the impact of the bill on the operating result is $25.9 million. As already mentioned, the lower impact represents the allowances already made in the 2004-05 budget for the expected final negotiations of the enterprise bargaining agreements. The provision of appropriation is necessary to allow the funding to be available to the agencies from the territory public account. For the information of

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .