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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1092..


Community organisations-requests for assistance

(Question Nos 48, 49, 50 and 51)

Mr Cornwell asked the Chief Minister, upon notice, on 19 February Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002:

In relation to all agencies within your portfolio (Government, outsourced and organisations which receive government funding) and ACTCOSS' claims that community services organisations surveyed in the ACT were forced to turn down 15,000 requests for assistance in the six-month period from January to June 2001" (media release "Community Sector Under Pressure", 14 December 2001).

1) Which organisations/agencies were unable to cope with such demands?

2) What a) types and b) numbers of requests were turned down by each of these organisations/ agencies?

3) Of those turned down requests, how many were multiple refusals of assistance to one individual as opposed to once-only requests from the individual?

4) Are all requests for assistance to all organisations / agencies recorded? If so, in what detail and if not, why not?

Mr Stanhope: The answers to the member's questions are as follows:

Preamble

The media release that Mr Cornwell MLA refers to, entitled " 15,000 Requests for Assistance Knocked Back - Community Sector under Pressure" was prepared by the ACT Council of Social Services (ACTCOSS) and published in the Canberra Times on Friday 14 December 2001. The essence of the article pertains to a series of surveys that the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and the State and Territory Councils of Social Services conducted. Their report Australians Living on the Edge IV - October 2001 examines key changes in the operating environment of community organisations, major issues of concern to these organisations, and some ideas on how the community services sector is responding.

The questions asked by Mr Cornwell MLA appear to refer specifically to the community service organisations mentioned in the ACTCOSS report, for the period January - June 2001. Government agencies were not included in this survey.

In respect to Government Services, it should be noted that Government agencies do not 'turn down' requests. Individuals are either, eligible or ineligible for a given service based on particular criteria.

1) The Australians Living on the Edge IV report does not specifically name the community service organisations that were unable to cope with demands. The information can, however, be extrapolated from the data at Table 7 of the report (a copy of which is attached), which lists the types of service provided to clients who sought but did not receive the core service(s) provided by the not-for-profit organisations (January to June 2001) (ACT).


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