Page 4565 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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and it certainly was not delivering on the requirements of the grant, that is, to equip the council and some other minor administrative issues. I said to the council that I had a concern that the council did not have the confidence of the community it purports to serve and that if it did not, and if that were proven to be so, and if the council did not deliver on the deliverables that we put in the contracts, I would defund it. We acknowledged that governments of both persuasions have never articulated adequately enough exactly what they wanted out of that council for the money. I took it on board to do just that. We did that.

Come March, we will evaluate whether their deliveries have been okay and whether they have the confidence of their community. Make no mistake about it, Mr Speaker: if the contracts are not delivered on and I have strong evidence that the council does not enjoy the confidence of people, I shall defund it, but I will not remove that funding from the multicultural community. What I will do for a period is project fund. We will invite applications for funding from within the multicultural community generally to deliver the projects that these people normally would be charged to deliver.

I have already had approaches from a number of communities wanting to create a rival organisation or umbrella group. I have counselled against that, saying that we need to rejuvenate this one. I would like to pay credit to the work of Albert Flask, who is a member of the executive of the council. Albert is particularly relevant; he is particularly in touch with his community. That council has been the subject of internal strife for some time. Some people within that council have been pushing their own barrows of self-aggrandisement under the incorrect guise of belonging to the Liberal group or the Labor group. The politics that have been played out there have nothing to do with the party political things played out here. There have been individuals in there who have been strutting their own stuff for self-aggrandisement, and that council must deal with them itself.

Just by way of indicating that we do know the seriousness of this matter, I have had six multicultural forums in recent months and I have seen hundreds of people. In the last one, I saw people from nine different communities from Europe. Normally, we talk about a range of issues, but the whole 2½ hours was taken up by nine communities and 30 people complaining about the management of the council, asking me to do something about it.

I have had discussions with a whole range of people on how they can fix their problem. Make no mistake, Mr Speaker, I am responsible to the taxpayer and I am responsible to the multicultural community and I will not allow the taxpayer to fund a dysfunctional organisation when other parts of the multicultural community can deliver for the multicultural communities better than that. But let us hope that they do rejuvenate themselves by March. I wish them the very best of luck and I would like to continue that relationship, but I am involved very heavily, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.

Mrs Freda Trowbridge

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.29): Earlier this afternoon I attended the funeral of a long-term Canberra resident, Mrs Freda Trowbridge. Mrs Trowbridge moved to

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