Page 2590 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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a working group. As I said, I covered a fair bit of this yesterday. But the concern was that nine months after the recommendation, on 31 May, no-one knew—no-one in the department who was present and the minister did not know—whether it had been established. It does seem a little odd.

I am not going to go into the issue that was discussed yesterday because I am sure I will get shut down if I use certain words, but it certainly seems a little odd that the day after it was highlighted in estimates the working group was established. You cannot have it both ways. Either the working group is really important, in which case it probably should have been established well before, or it is not important at all, in which case why do you turn around and run away and in haste go and form it in one day? Restating that point: as I have said, I have spoken at length about that. But it certainly seems a bit odd. The minister’s explanation on this issue has been less than adequate.

We also saw that, obviously, earlier this year. There was a walls of shame headline in the Canberra Times and the next day there was a big announcement from Ms Gallagher about funding for Quamby. It seems that there is a bit of a pattern as to how the minister works. When there is a bit of public scrutiny, suddenly there is an announcement or a change in the way things are done.

In particular, there was a budget announcement regarding money for an increase in security staff. Apparently that was reducing the risk of young people reoffending, by providing a secure environment for young people in the facility. I guess the first concern that comes to mind is how extra security staff will stop people reoffending. I would have thought that they would, hopefully, stop people from escaping. But it does not seem like that is a comprehensive way of preventing young people reoffending, when they come out. It seems like an odd assertion.

Another issue raised during the estimates process that is of concern to me—and I welcome this part of the budget—is funding for the Gungahlin child and family centre. I have certainly been out to speak to a lot of the young mothers there. There is no doubt that a lot of young single mothers who are at the Gungahlin youth centre are receiving support. They certainly welcome that funding. It is a good thing. In a growing area like Gungahlin, with a lot of young families, it is something to be welcomed.

But there is a concern—and I raise this with the minister and hopefully this will be addressed—in relation to parking issues there, especially during the construction phase. There is not much parking at the moment in front of the youth centre. When the child and family centre is constructed, there will be an impact on parking. That is a concern for disabled access and, obviously, for young mothers with young children, having to come from the other side of the centre. That is something that the minister promised to address. I certainly hope that that will be done.

In general, we support most of this funding. I restate my concern with the processes, some of the answers to questions, the lack of knowledge on the working group, the establishment of the working group the next day and, obviously, the continued breaches of the Human Rights Act at Quamby. Hopefully, these will be addressed soon.

But this is obviously something that the opposition needs to keep highlighting, because what we have seen from this minister—and it is disappointing that she is not here—is

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