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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 4445..


high compared to other cities of like size perhaps or of other jurisdictions. But I am more than happy to seek a fuller explanation on that. Normally we do relative comparisons on any claim in relation to whether or not a particular indicator is high or low.

I think of all of the indicators, it is the one that is perhaps the most intriguing and the most difficult to understand in the context of such a significant movement in an indicator—from 98 per cent to 81 per cent—being the proportion of Canberrans who have contact with family and friends. To suggest that there are 17 per cent less Canberrans having any contact or regular contact at least with family or friends represents a very significant shift. In the context of understanding it, as I said before, it is a challenge.

MS HUNTER: Mr Speaker, a supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Chief Minister, given that the ACT government has wound up the social inclusion board and you have reiterated your commitment to social inclusion, what is the government doing to ensure social inclusion in the territory and to halt this decline in social contact?

MR STANHOPE: The government remains committed to working to enhance social inclusion. We are looking at and seeking new ways of achieving that. It is the case that the social inclusion board no longer exists or continues. We believe that decision was appropriate in terms of the work that the board did in identifying the sorts of issues that we might address.

One of the things that we have done quite recently, in direct response to the fact that we are not pursuing the social inclusion board, was to commit, I think, $85,000 to the pilot of a virtual village, something that community organisations are very committed to, as a way of trying to build, most particularly, social connections between people over the age of 50. Maureen Caine—I think it is Maureen—has been very involved in that. That is one of the initiatives we are pursuing as a direct response to a change.

We also seek to deal with issues of social inclusion and social isolation by the wide range of supports that we provide, most particularly to older Canberrans, accepting that we believe, whilst there is a whole number of identifiable groups of Canberrans or of any community that are most prone to exclusion from work and life in the community, that people as they age are more and more likely to be included within that cohort. We have a whole range of programs that we pursue, most particularly as part of our seniors programs and ageing to deal with issues of exclusion. For instance, some of the other issues that we pursue directly aim at dealing with these issues. There is the support that we provide to community councils. We provide minibuses. We have looked at the issue around social isolation and transportation.

Childcare—costs

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, on the COAG website the regulatory impact statement that


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