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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 1 Hansard (9 February) . . Page.. 67..

MS PORTER: Minister, how is the government supporting our foster and kinship carers, which plays such an important role in keeping our children safe?

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I ask for your ruling, again, about the relevance of Ms Porter's question about foster and kinship in relation to the review of government services, which was the original question.

Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: mine was the original question and I did not mention the report on government services anywhere. I was talking about the child protection service, of which foster carers are an essential part.

MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. Ms Porter, can you repeat the question, for the minister's benefit?

MS PORTER: Minister, how is the government supporting our foster and kinship carers, which plays such an important role in keeping our children safe?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her question. Before I respond, can I just say a large thankyou to all the foster and kinship carers out there that do such a tremendous job across the system. As part of this government's commitment to keeping our children safe, we have also substantially increased the level of support provided to our foster and kinship carers, providing an additional $800,000 in the last budget over four years. These funds go towards training, skills development, community education, advocacy and networking and other specialist support. Our foster and kinship carers play a remarkable role in assisting our vulnerable children in their time of need.

The report on government services showed that the ACT provides amongst the highest subsidies in the whole country. The subsidies are on track to increase again this year. This is just another example of the ACT Labor government investing in our vulnerable and through our child protection system.

Hospitals—birthing centre

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Health and it is about the new birthing centre being constructed as part of the women's and children's hospital. Minister, can you please advise if the new birthing centre is intended to be the permanent home of the Canberra midwifery program and, if not, why not?

MS GALLAGHER: Is the question about whether the birth centre is going to be the permanent location?

Ms Bresnan: Yes.

MS GALLAGHER: I noticed, since I returned to work from leave, that I have received a letter from the convenor of the Friends of the Birth Centre, who were concerned about some of the early design work that they had seen around the new birth centre. From my briefing—I had a very short discussion with the department of health around this yesterday—there seems to have been a misunderstanding about the

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