Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 23 March 2017) . . Page.. 980 ..
have mentioned. Once again, I commend the original motion to the Assembly and express my opposition to the amendment.
MR RATTENBURY (11.43), in reply: I appreciate comments from members of the Assembly today on the importance of community legal centres. I think it is a very good thing to come in here today and acknowledge their important role, to see that acknowledged across the Assembly and to be able to agree on the important thing in this motion, which is the importance of the community legal centres and the role that they play, particularly in supporting disadvantaged Canberrans.
I have looked very carefully at Mr Hanson’s amendment and, as I have indicated, I will not be able to support it. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is facts and mathematics. As best I can understand it, in paragraph (g) of Mr Hanson’s amendment he has talked about funding increasing from $782,000-odd to $1.4 million. That is an increase of $639,000. As best I do maths, that is an 82 per cent increase, not a 101 per cent increase. That is a fact that I think is important to recognise there.
Nonetheless, I do want to acknowledge another point that he has made in his amendment, which is that there has been an increase in funding through the provision of funding for domestic violence. No-one disagrees with that—both the fact that it has happened and the fact that that is a valuable contribution.
The profile that has been given to domestic violence has been so important for our community in starting community discussions about how inappropriate it is; about giving people, victims particularly, the confidence to come forward, to seek help, to access services. This injection of funding is really important in that context. We cannot understate how much this debate has changed in the public domain in Australia in recent years.
I think we owe a lot of credit to Rosie Batty in particular for that. She has been an outstanding public advocate and has provided a lightning rod and a voice for so many in our community. I think that her recognition as Australian of the Year was very important. The tremendous role that she played as an ambassador for this very important issue has been one of the most impressive contributions I have seen from an Australian of the Year for as long as I can remember, and there have been many great Australians of the Year. The way that Ms Batty used that role, and advocated for such an important issue, is very important.
I digress slightly, but I simply want to make the point that Mr Hanson is right that additional funds have been injected. I also think, in trying to compare some of these numbers, there is real dispute, and that is the key reason that I will not be supporting his amendment today—not that I disagree with his point on the additional injection of funds, but simply the numbers. The comparison of 2012-13 with now I am not sure is an apples and apples comparison. The national partnership did not exist in 2012-13. There may well be a different basis for counting funding between what was happening in 2012-13, when there were a series of individualised agreements with community legal centres, and the situation now, where there is a national partnership. I have not been able to drill behind those figures. I have tried to, but it is somewhat murky.