Page 3130 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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I thank members for their support of the education and training budget. It is one of the most critical areas of ACT government service delivery. The ACT continues to lead the nation in education and training, and this budget ensures that that will continue and that we will set our system up for future reform and for future outstanding results.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.15—Community Services Directorate—$205,808,000 (net cost of outputs), $20,307,000 (capital injection) and $39,893,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $266,008,000.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health, Minister for Industrial Relations and Treasurer) (11.54): I move amendment No 4 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3176].

This amendment is largely technical, although it does change the appropriations marginally as well, with the inclusion of artsACT in the Community Services Directorate.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (11.54): Overall this budget has a significant amount of money being placed towards young people who are predominantly in crisis. Any funding put towards the vulnerable within the community is welcomed. I have had some reservations about the changing priorities within the ACT. This year little funding was allocated towards prevention or early intervention. These programs can impact positively on the health and social outcomes of many, and when they are invested properly they provide great dividends in reduced spending in crisis areas and overall benefits for Canberra.

The Greens have concerns about the implications of redirecting funds towards crisis intervention without also keeping pace with the early intervention and prevention needs of the community. If they are left underfunded then a greater social and financial cost will be borne by the Canberra community in the long term.

The Greens are interested in seeing the spectrum of services in the ACT managed in a way that provides priority to prevention and still offers supports for young people who are at risk or in crisis. At the moment it does feel like the pendulum has swung right around to target one section of the community. The risk is that many more people will fall into crisis situations because they have not had an early intervention and it has not prevented or halted the escalation of problems into the future.

There is spending on social issues. This budget shows a lack, I must say, of innovation around new ways of addressing social issues. We are surrounded by other jurisdictions who have implemented innovative programs and have trialled different ways of doing things, from addressing the needs of young people with disabilities through to programs for families in need. We really should be a leader, not a late adopter of new programs and practices.

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