Page 2582 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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people left in nursing homes without support funding. As I said, I welcome the individual support packages. There is still, however, the potential for families with disabled children or persons with other disabilities to compete for funding with each other. Obviously, it is a question of priorities, but a reallocation of priorities would see more money for things that are needed, such as ISPs, and perhaps less for some of the more grandiose schemes we have seen in the budget. The arboretum would be one area where we have seen a bit of a misallocation of resources.

The consideration of multicultural affairs was one of the more unseemly moments in the estimates process and was disappointing. In response to questioning by Mr Pratt, Mr Hargreaves said:

If you want to go in there and politically interfere with its management, feel free. I suggest that you should be very careful about what you say or, otherwise, publish a picture of your house in the Canberra Times. That’s how much you’ll be paying if you keep going down this track.

I have pages of Hansard of the exchanges that went on. I repeat that I certainly found it unhelpful, I know that my colleague Mr Mulcahy did, and I do not think that view was limited to opposition in some of these hearings. There were times when we had great discussions with Mr Hargreaves and he gave us some good information, but I would highlight for the Assembly that there were particular times when there was, in my opinion, inappropriate behaviour by the minister and it was not helpful for a proper scrutiny of these budget areas.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (5.40): In many respects, I see the 2005 budget as a budget of missed opportunities and misplaced priorities and one demonstrating in some areas poor financial management. That was evident no more so than within the area of disability services, particularly in relation to the injection of more funds into valuable programs that support those in the community who, let us not forget, are in greatest need of government support, people who otherwise just would not be able to access any form of support.

Ongoing certainty of funding for community-based organisations to deliver valuable community services in addition to work conducted by the disability, housing and community services portfolio is crucial. They make an invaluable contribution to supporting people in the community who are reliant on care options that the government cannot always supply.

There have been many reports, reviews and inquiries into specific areas of service delivery in the area of disability services over the last 3½ years and, no doubt, they have once again supplied government with a very rich vein of information and advice as to how to find a way forward with the delivery of improved services and support in areas such as the disability sector. Now is the time to translate that information into action, something this government seems to wrestle with on a daily basis. I acknowledge that the minister has put forward some good efforts, but he knows himself that the pressure is on him. I will get on to that in a moment.

During the estimates process, the committee highlighted the need for greater focus on a breakdown of how funding has been allocated to improving areas of need since the

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