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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 38..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

these important drug rehabilitation beds will be available through construction commencing in the middle of this year or towards the second half of this calendar year.

Mr Speaker, this process is fair. It is a transparent process that puts all the information on the table. It also enables a timely resolution of whether this development will proceed. Make no mistake about it: we need more drug rehabilitation beds in Canberra, we need them as a matter of urgency, and the government does not want to see these beds held up and a decision on this facility held up for a period of 12 or 18 months, which is the prospect that the Liberals seem to be proposing to the Assembly at the moment.

Ministerial responsibility

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Ms Gallagher. As minister, are you personally responsible for the failure of your department to comply with the Children and Young People Act 1999?

MS GALLAGHER: The Children and Young People Act places responsibility for the care and protection of children in the territory in the hands of the chief executive. I am certainly responsible for the department. I did not receive advice from the department at any stage alerting me to their failure to adhere to their responsibilities under the Children and Young People Act.

I explained this morning that I am not walking away from my responsibilities and that my responsibility is to move forward. I have outlined the plan and have spoken at length to it. I have given every bit of information provided by the commissioner to members of the Assembly for them to see what I am being advised about. I hope that I get the support of the Assembly to move forward and rise a bit above politics.

Mrs Burke: Ha!

MS GALLAGHER: No, seriously! I hope I get the support to move this and work together in the best interests of children and young people in the territory.

Mrs Burke: You're in a position of trust, Minister.

MS GALLAGHER: Well, Mrs Burke, what have you done? You've gone on radio. What did Mike Jeffreys call you? A "very upset Mrs Burke"went on radio this morning discussing issues-

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The minister is not being relevant in answering the question. Under standing order 118 (a), she should be giving an answer about responsibility and what she knew and not about what Mrs Burke has done. Mrs Burke is not the minister at the table.

MR SPEAKER: Minister, respond to the substance of the question.

MS GALLAGHER: Since I took responsibility for this matter, mapped out a way forward, outlined resources and did everything I possibility could to ensure that children in the care of the territory are safe and protected, Mrs Burke has put out a number of press releases and that is about it. That is all she has done. Apparently, she has been


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