Tuesday 24 June 2008
Estimates Committee B (Bartlett)
Mrs Rattray-Wagner (Chair)
Hon. David Bartlett, Premier; Minister for Education and Skills; Minister for Workplace Relations
Department of Premier and Cabinet:
Greg Johannes, Executive Director
Marguerite Scott, Director, Community Development
Rhys Edwards, Secretary
Rebekah Burton, Deputy Secretary
Phil Foulston, Director, Executive Division
Anna Cuthbertson, Executive Officer
Jeff Reeve, Acting Director, Corporate Services
Peter Wright, Manager, Finance
Frank Ogle, Director, Public Sector Management Office
John McCormick, Director, Policy
Jamie Bayly-Stark, Director, Policy
Phil Hoysted, Director, Tasmania Together Progress Board
Mellissa Astinakis, Director, Social Inclusion Unit
Hayden Jones, Project Manager
Department of Justice
Lisa Hutton, Secretary
Brian Smith, Deputy Secretary
Michael Stevens, Deputy Secretary
Peter Fischer, State Planning Adviser
Roy Ormerod, General Manager, Workplace Standards
Department of Education
John Smyth, Secretary
Greg Glass, Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services
Jenny Gale, General Manager, Strategic Policy and Performance
Liz Banks, General Manager, Learning Services North-West
Lynne James, Manager, State Programs - Students
Andrew Finch, Director, Finance, Facilities and Business Support
Sue Kennedy, Manager, Ministerial and Co-ordination Unit
Siobhan Gaskell, Director, Information Service and Community Learning
Mark Sayer, General Manager, Skills Tasmania
Malcolm White, Chief Executive Officer, TAFE Tasmania
Tony Luttrell, General Manager, Corporate Services, TAFE Tasmania
Suzie Jacobson, Manager, Corporate Affairs
Office of the Governor
John Chilcott, Official Secretary of the Governor
Andrea Lidster, Budget Officer, Government House
Anna Cuthbertson, Executive Officer
Terry Field, Chief of Staff
Mat Rowell, Deputy Chief of Staff
Alison Woolford, Office Finance Manager
9.3 industrial relations policy and advocacy services -
Aboriginal Bureau - Policy advice and community service
Mr FINCH - When the Treasurer was selling his Budget in the north of the State, we had Aboriginal protests outside the hotel and the Aboriginal community displayed their concern about being neglected. I suppose in view of the Jim Bacon legacy too, I am wondering if you would like to comment on that circumstance and your understanding of their feelings and why they would express them in that away.
Mr BARTLETT - I am yet to meet with representatives of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre but of course in my earlier portfolios I was deeply engaged in Aboriginal curriculum, in working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Education Association and piloting literacy programs for less advantaged groups like Aboriginal children within our schools, so I have personally been very active in working with the Aboriginal community through education. Of course, this Government has the strongest record in Australia, you would have to say, in terms of land handed back and in terms of the only Government having moved to compensate the stolen generations and so on. So we have a proud record - that is how I would describe it.
I understand the protest - and, as I said, I am yet to meet with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre representatives but I know it is upcoming in my diary, or it will be - was related to an issue of moving a child-care centre that currently is located in Moonah out to Aboriginal land in Risdon Cove. I have had some discussions as Education Minister with the community about this over a period of time and I have asked them to present me with a written case, a business plan or a proposal, and I have not seen that in detail yet. But what I have said and what I will say at my upcoming meeting with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is that the Federal Government has provided significant dollars for new child-care centres within Tasmania, the first of which will be built at Beaconsfield, which I know you will be pleased about.
Mr FINCH - I am on the committee.
Mr BARTLETT - There you go.
CHAIR - Next at Bicheno?
Mr BARTLETT - I am happy to talk about my priority setting. Having met with Maxine McKew and discussed it with Julia Gillard as well, they have asked me or us as a community for our priorities. My priorities were, of course, Beaconsfield because they were further down the track. Also the Federal Government had made an election commitment towards early years autism intervention, so they were the two that got funded in the federal budget. I then have provided, via a letter to Maxine McKew, the State's or my department's priorities. Following those two, Bicheno and Campbell Town are the next two. But I have indicated to the Aboriginal community that I would be very happy to rank the move from Moonah to Risdon Cove equal with those two in priorities, but to be able to do so I need more information from them about the benefits of doing it and about how it might work and what the outcomes would be and so on to spend capital to move what is, I understand, an ongoing child-care service from one place to another.
Mr FINCH - Just looking at one of the tables here, I notice an interesting table on page 11.18, table 11.13. There is a drop here in the forward estimates. Our budget for this year is 841 000 and then in 2009- 10 there is a drop to 828 000, then it is back up again to 845 000, then up to 862 000. I am just curious as to whether there is something there in the planning that would see that diminution in the funding there. I am also curious about it being so specific -
Mr BARTLETT - Well, it is $13 000.
Mr FINCH - to the tune of $13 000.
Mr BARTLETT - We will see if we can find the lost $13 000; hold on. We will have to take that on notice.
Mr FINCH - Because being so specific about those figures, I would trust that there is a reason or else just level it off. Just say, well it is going to be about 845 000 for each of the three years, rather than just this up and down a little bit.
Mr BARTLETT - My guess is that it would be a program that has run for some time of the value of about $13 000 a year and that it has dropped off in that year.
Mr FINCH - Finished up and then something else is coming on.
Mr BARTLETT - And then indexation so there would be a balance between a program dropping off that may have been a three-year funded program up to '08-09, and then indexation. But we would be able to find out for you what that program is.
Mr FINCH - I am probably being pedantic, but if I could just nail that so I have an understanding that that is a legitimate rise and fall and that there is a reason behind it.
Mr WING - Then you will be able to sleep tonight.
Mr FINCH - Comfortably, yes. Also we talked yesterday about Aboriginal heritage legislation coming up soon. I am just wondering whether there are practical initiatives from your department that you might be planning in the future for when that is introduced or as that gets closer.
Mr BARTLETT - The heritage legislation, it would not be under this output. It would be the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage who is responsible for that legislation.
Mr FINCH - We talked about that yesterday. I was just wondering whether it is on your radar when you have landowners out there, some who are not happy and have concerns and the legislation is being formulated. I am wondering whether issues had filtered into your area.
Mr BARTLETT - It has not. I have been in the job four weeks, but I have had some initial conversations with the Minister responsible about the legislation, trying to understand what it does and what it is and so on. That is the stage I am at the moment.
Mr FINCH - Okay, thank you.