Page 2588 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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I am disappointed that the budget does not include initiatives in relation to emergency relief and an expansion of concessions programs. The St Vincent de Paul Society told the estimates committee that it is seeing a deterioration in the situation of people who are disadvantaged and experiencing poverty. I do not blame the ACT government for that, because I am sure that federal policies have an awful lot to do with it. It is true that emergency relief received a small injection last year, but not enough to meet the increase in need experienced by welfare services in the ACT.

I have said before that this budget is not a green budget. By that I mean that it makes little investment in environment sustainability. But the same can be said for social sustainability, which is also a core concern of the Greens. But, as a core concern of much of the Labor Party’s own constituency, I would have to say that it is not a pink budget either.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (6.02): I think we have canvassed most of the comments that the opposition and Dr Foskey have made in the context of questions without notice in the last few days. I do not know how many times I have addressed the $10 million housing issue. I do not know how many times I have had to respond to questions from Mrs Burke on independent support packages.

But I have to say that I observe these things: it was, in fact, this government that put money into the Gallop inquiry. I do not recall much money being put in by the previous government. Had the previous government properly resourced the second and first phases, maybe those issues to do with Gallop would never have arisen and we would not have had to put all those tens of millions of dollars into it.

I do not recall those opposite coming up with anything about affordable housing or addressing homelessness particularly well, as I articulated when discussing the report today. What I do observe, however, is the way in which I am accused of certain behaviour in the estimates committee. My recollection of it is that the behaviour of two members of the committee was so appalling that I could not contain myself, for which I apologise. I think they really ought to examine themselves today because I think you will find that there is nothing to be gained by all that sort of stuff; it was just nonsense. Maybe Mr Seselja ought to think about it in a strategic sense. There might be a lesson in there.

I have to say I am particularly proud to be able to have got that extra $800,000 for ISPs because it is a very tight year. This is a very responsible budget in a very tight time. I think you will find that Disability, Housing and Community Services is able to provide services to those most in need reasonably well. I am confident that the level of resourcing available to us will enable us to continue to provide services to these people in a far superior sense than the opposition could ever dream of.

I do not believe in an either/or situation. These folks opposite talk about maybe the arboretum would be a good idea to go. It is a bit like the prison: let us put the prison off and we will put the capital money for the prison into the hospital recurrent funding. That was good, wasn’t it? That was great. We will have $110 million of capital out of the

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