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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (11 February) . . Page.. 207..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

her individual expert oversight is there, then I would have confidence that the reforms that are needed will occur.

That is what I alluded to in my ministerial statement. I have reflected on briefs I have been given. I know Mrs Burke has an FOI in for all those briefs, so you can read them when they arrive. The advice given to me about responding to that part of the report-keeping in mind that we were not responding to a recommendation-all information given to me by the department was that this matter was in hand, it was being dealt with, discussions with the Community Advocate had been very fruitful, and policies were being reworded to ensure compliance. I had no reason to believe that that work was not being done and that the statutory obligations were not being met at the time.

MR STEFANIAK: Why did you not take up that issue with your department as soon as you read it in the report?

MS GALLAGHER: I explained this yesterday-not to your satisfaction obviously; so we will keep going, and you can keep asking me all these questions tomorrow. On reflection I should have read 6.23 and raised it-and this is the area in which I said I should have done better; I am not trying to get away from that fact-as should have many other people who provide support to me. However, as I said in my ministerial statement, I had not responded adequately to 6.23 because of some of the other statements in the committee and some of the advice I was getting from the department that the matter was being dealt with.

Social plan

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Chief Minister. What plans does the government have to build a stronger, more cohesive community over the next decade or so?

MR STANHOPE: Ms MacDonald's question is an important one on a very important issue. It is current in the context of the release last week by me of the report "Building our community: a Canberra social plan", a comprehensive and rigorous response to the needs of the Canberra community. The Canberra social plan recognises all the good things we have done but acknowledges there are a range of issues where we do not do particularly well and where we can do better. The vision that underpins the Canberra social plan and underpins this government's philosophy is that we need to ensure that we have in Canberra a community where every person can reach their potential, where they can make a contribution and share in the benefits of the community. That, essentially, is the philosophy that underlines this government's commitment to the people of Canberra.

The Canberra social plan establishes seven areas of social priority that we intend to achieve over the next 10 to 15 years. I look forward to serving as Chief Minister over that 10 to 15 year period. The seven priority areas are: economic opportunity for all Canberrans; respect, diversity and human rights-and in relation to that the government only last night completed a major reform process with the completion of the second major tranche of reform: the removal of legislated discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people in this community. We have also committed to a safe, strong and cohesive community; to improve health and wellbeing; to lead Australia in education,


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