Page 1370 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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staff communication with primary carers was limited by lack of sequential information about the patient.

It is understandable that stressed and overworked nurses can find visitors a nuisance, despite knowing that they are so important to patient recovery and wellbeing. I think that this is an example of patient wellbeing being jeopardised by staff being overworked and stressed. And I am sure that it is not the only instance.

I am also concerned about the appropriations related to the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support. As much as we all want to see the problems with child protection addressed and the recommendations of recent reviews such as those contained in the Vardon report acted on, this should not mean vast sums being spent on operational aspects such as office accommodation. Certainly it does make sense to consolidate the office in one location, and I understand that staffing has recently increased.

Nonetheless, I am not convinced that the service needs to be located in Civic or that there could not be some savings from the relinquishing of existing office accommodations to offset the costs of consolidation. I would have thought that $1.48 million could be much better spent in other areas of child protection, with more direct benefit for children at risk.

Lastly, I remain concerned about the government’s decision to locate gambling and racing within the Department of Economic Development. Gambling is much more than an economic industry. It is a highly complex activity that causes significant social harm to a proportion of our community. I believe that the government needs to maintain a very strong connection between the regulation of the gambling industry and the impact of gambling on the community, including the provision of effective support to people with gambling problems and their families.

I acknowledge that the code of practice for gambling providers is a positive step. But we need to do much more, and I believe that it is dangerous to see gambling as integral to our economic development. For many families it means quite the opposite.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (5.13): Mr Speaker, of course we have no choice but to support the passing of this appropriation. There are fundamental activities enshrined here which have to be supported for the good of the community. However, necessary as this appropriation may be, this exercise highlights a range of fundamental flaws in this government’s economic management. It is clear, after looking at Appropriation Bill 2004-05 (No 2), that this is a government that is barely fit to manage the ACT economy. This is a government that cannot budget adequately and therefore cannot properly manage the finances of the territory.

I fear that Canberrans are going to have to pay the price of the Stanhope government’s failings to manage the territory’s finances by way of increased fees, fines and taxes in 2005-06. I hope I am proven wrong by this government when it hands down its 2005-06 budget shortly. But this appropriation bill raises some serious concerns in that regard and may be a hint of some of the problems to come.

It is clear that this government has now blown out the 2004-05 budget. Last year, and certainly for the purpose of impressing the electorate in an election year, this government

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