Page 3151 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013
initiatives is quite astounding. (Second speaking period taken.) Individuals that work within youth services have indicated to me that the directorate wants the sector to come to a consensus about where this funding should be targeted and which organisations should deliver the initiatives. There is a lack of leadership and vision from the government in this space, and it is unreasonable to expect organisations that compete against each other for funding to rationally make the decisions on behalf of the government as to where this should be spent.
In closing, let me say that this budget line item, like most, has the devil in the detail. It is full of promises and aspirations. However, we know that the track record of this government means that there is a high likelihood that many of the initiatives will be poorly executed, delayed or over budget. The budget fails to outline just how prepared we actually are for the biggest change to the way government funds the disability sector, the biggest change to social policy in generations. And it fails as it falls short on so many levels to provide support and assistance to some of the most vulnerable within our community.
MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.36): I rise to speak today regarding the line items of this budget relating to the women and multicultural affairs portfolio, in particular a couple of areas.
Regarding the microcredit program, the minister will remember that I asked specific questions regarding the target groups that this initiative intends to assist. I would like it to be recorded that there is an emerging group of people displaying disconnection from the workforce: fathers who take time out of the workplace to care for children at home or to care for the elderly are also in need of access to these grants and in need of this assistance. Lighthouse, which administers some of the grants in this general space, is being approached by men who do not fit into any of the current categories but who would genuinely benefit from this assistance. I ask the minister to consider including this group in the target groups to which this microcredit program applies.
In relation to the National Multicultural Festival, the biggest event for the multi-ethnic community in the ACT, it is worth giving some consideration to operations of the festival and the outcomes achieved. Given that it seems that the additional $100,000 now allocated to each and every National Multicultural Festival has become a regular part of the funding package required for this event, and given that this additional funding has not been included in the outyears of the forward estimates, I would like to record that I will be vigilant in watching to see that this funding is included in the outyears. It is interesting that the minister has been left in the position where she will now have to go cap in hand to the Treasurer to seek this funding unless she devises a completely different model of delivering the event. I look forward to seeing how good her negotiating skills are, assuming that this is not just a trick intended to make the bottom line of the budget look better.
Given that in previous years there have been issues around food hygiene, it is good that the issues of food hygiene and safety are being taken seriously. However, I have walked the entire Multicultural Festival and spoken to almost every food stallholder, and the consistent feedback was that in some instances they were monitored up to 15 times in one day. Food safety is obviously a very important matter, and I commend the minister for ensuring that the food at the festival was consumable. However,