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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2311..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

implementation strategy for government. The Office for Children, Youth and Family Support is a key part of the renewed government focus.

Since the review was announced in January this year the government has moved forward. The Canberra social plan was released in February. The release of the ACT children's plan on 15 June by the minister, Ms Gallagher, provides a clear direction for children and their families in the ACT.

It is clear that further resources are needed to complete these reforms. The government has committed $68 million so far this year for widespread reform. While increased funding is important, strengthening child protection in the ACT will require comprehensive reform over a longer period. The Vardon report provides compelling reminders for parents, and the territory as parent, about the responsibilities for raising children and young people.

A further report on the audit of files of those children and young people in care who were the subject of a report of concern will be released in July 2004. This report will reinforce our responsibilities.

The way forward is challenging. The government accepts and embraces these challenges. Our commitment to reform will focus on the needs of children and young people at risk in our community.

Mr Speaker, before concluding my remarks, I need to commend the way in which the minister, Ms Katy Gallagher, has from the outset handled and driven this very significant reform process. I commend the minister for her attention to this matter and I commend the Vardon report to the Assembly. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the papers.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Burke ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Environment Protection Authority

Report and statement by minister

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Review of the Environmental Protection Act 1997 and the Role of the Environment Protection Authority-Final report, dated June 2004

I ask for leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, it is my pleasure today to bring to the Assembly the final report of the review of the Environment Protection Act and the role of the Environment Protection Authority. The review shows that the Environment Protection


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