Page 2161 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 May 2009

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anything against architects, but architects and design people should not be getting such a large proportion of our health capital works. I am concerned about the large amount of money going to design for the Supreme Court building.

I question that. I think that if we had a better approach to capital works expenditure, if we had a capital works commissioner, an infrastructure commissioner, there would be some control and some scrutiny of these figures. My concern is that if you go out and say that we are going to spend $4 million doing this, well, people will bid to the $4 million mark. They see us coming in government, and we are not very good at keeping our costs in check because we have to go out and flag in advance how much we are going to spend on things. It is very unlikely that we ever come in under budget.

I have commented previously on the highly intellectual and professional contributions of Mr Barr in the budget debate. Mr Hargreaves also made highly intellectual and professional interventions, but at least his were an attempt at humour. I think that Mr Barr’s intervention was unnecessary. It was spiteful. If you are going to rib your colleagues, at least try and inject a bit of humour into it. It makes it a little more palatable and it makes you seem less venal. It was interesting that Mr Barr referred to the members of the opposition as the Heathers. I think that when you throw stones like that, it actually reveals more about your own personality than the people you are criticising.

In the few moments remaining to me I want to pay tribute to the Italian community in the ACT for the work that they have done over the last few weeks in supporting their compatriots who were the victims of the Abruzzo earthquake. Just before I went to Japan, I attended a commemorative mass for the victims. There was also a substantial and successful fundraising dinner. I hope that members of the Assembly were able to support the Italian community in their ventures.

Mr Tony Meloto

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (6:53): Mr Speaker, it was my pleasure to meet during this week Mr Tony Meloto, the founder of the Philippines-based Gawad Kalinga organisation. On Monday afternoon, my Assembly colleagues Alistair Coe and Mary Porter and I, with the assistance of the Canberra branch of the Gawad Kalinga committee, hosted a function here at the ACT Assembly to welcome Mr Meloto to Canberra and give him an opportunity to meet with and address a cross-section of our Canberra community, including Monsignor John Woods. I have to say it was a pleasure and a privilege to meet Tony Meloto and one of his new supporters, Mr John Roberts, President of the US-based Heal the World organisation.

In 1995 Tony launched a work with the poor program in one of the most notorious squatter relocation sites in Manila. He called his program Gawad Kalinga, GK, meaning to give care. Gawad Kalinga grew rapidly under the inspirational leadership of Mr Meloto and has become an internationally renowned self-help program for the disadvantaged homeless poor. The dream and the vision that Tony Meloto first had in Australia on a visit in 1995 became Gawad Kalinga, and since that time it has delivered over 2,000 Gawad Kalinga villages across the Philippines and the world, and each village has around 30 to 50 houses.

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