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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2501..


MRS CROSS: Minister, do you or do you not support the concept of pharmacies operating out of supermarkets?

Mr Corbell: Point of order, Mr Speaker: that is not a supplementary question.

Mrs Cross: It is just a general question, Mr Speaker. What was the answer?

Mr Corbell: I took a point of order that it was not a supplementary question.

Mrs Cross: It is a supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: It is not a supplementary question and it could quite easily be argued that it is an attempt to anticipate the debate.

Child protection

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Ms Gallagher. Yesterday, in response to a question from Mr Cornwell, you implied that no minister or official should be held accountable for the breaking of section 162 (2) of the Children and Young People Act 1999, because your department did not have enough resources to comply with it.

Minister, your department did not make even the slightest effort to follow the law, even though it was in the clear interest of vulnerable children that it did so. Why aren't you prepared to hold people accountable or to be held accountable for breaking the law? Why do you have this attitude that, even though it is clear that your department decided that it did not have to follow the law and did not make the slightest effort to do so, they can get away with this?

MS GALLAGHER: We can keep going around this issue, and we have since it emerged in January. Every sitting period I have been asked a variation of this question. I do not think anyone has got away with anything through this process. It has been a sad and difficult time for everyone who had been involved in child protection in the ACT, including this Assembly, I should add.

We have gone through a rigorous process: there has been an independent review, there have been recommendations made in that review; and the government have accepted recommendations. We have poured additional resources into this area; we are attracting new staff to this area. I again extend the challenge to the opposition to indicate to me where, at any stage of their reading of the report, they can identify one person who should be held responsible for the issues outlined in the Vardon report-all of the issues outlined in the Vardon report.

There was one area of one statutory obligation that was not met. It was a very important statutory obligation. But through this process it has become clear that, even though this area was underresourced and challenged on a number of fronts, the department met the crisis needs of children in the care of the territory. They have done a very good job in very difficult circumstances. There was an area of one part of one statutory obligation


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