Page 2593 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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Ms Gallagher: Transport and relocate.

MRS DUNNE: Transport and relocate. There is a difference! We have got a $90,000 building, which was slated for demolition by the Queensland government. I question whether they needed to pay $90,000 for a building that the Queensland government was going to pull down anyhow. Then they are going to spend $1.5 million to transport it, relocate it, put it up again and put the services in. I still think that that is a profligate use of money. I think that the minister should be revisiting it with a big red pen, and we should be coming up with something much more cost effective.

We promised to spend $4 million to get Quamby up to absolute minimum standards. There is no recreation area; there are still a lot of ongoing problems. Most of that money is going to be blown on a transport company. Some transport company in this country is going to do very well out of the young people at Quamby. I think that the minister should be revisiting it. I would rather the ACT building industry see some of that $1.5 million. I am sure that, if it were put together properly, with some rigour, we would see a much better outcome.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.24): I welcome the majority of the initiatives funded through the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support, including the additional funding for individual support packages, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth supported accommodation and the additional care and protection staff. I also support the initiative to establish a child and family centre in Tuggeranong.

However, I have raised concerns, which I reiterate now, about the amount of money being spent on office accommodation and business support costs for the office and the spurious claim that these are necessary measures in response to the Vardon report. I know that the Vardon report recommended the office consolidate its accommodation, but I do not think that this necessarily justifies spending roughly $4.8 million, on top of whatever the office was previously spending, on accommodation. I believe that much of the cost is associated with locating the office in Civic. Although I am promised that a cost-benefit study would be undertaken, it was not presented to the estimates committee; so I cannot be sure what alternatives were considered. Then there is the $10 million for business support costs that is not fully explained in the budget.

I think there is a trend in this budget for the government to justify any spending in the areas of family services, disability services or emergency services by claiming it as a response to one inquiry or another, without demonstrating how the spending links back to recommendations and what alternatives were considered.

I also feel that the government has failed to match the funding being spent on child protection with adequate funding for preventative family support. In the estimates committee process I asked for a breakdown of the funding allocated to family support and was disappointed to be told that it cannot be estimated. In budget paper 4, funding for family support is combined with the cost of licensing childcare services and other work of the office, which precludes clarity.

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