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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 5424..


foster and kinship carers. Minister, can you confirm that costs associated with tutoring, medical expenses, including doctors' fees, and medication costs are now all rolled into the new financial subsidy? If so, how much is the subsidy being increased by?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Hunter for her question. Certainly the costs for out-of-home care have been recently reviewed. We looked at other states. I think New South Wales was the key comparator to look at, and we had to bear in mind that different states had structured their payments somewhat differently. So, if we looked at a global sense of what New South Wales were paying through out-of-home care subsidies and contingencies and support payments and ours, we think ours are comparable or indeed slightly above those of New South Wales.

To the question of elements line by line, I would assume that those existing known common components of caring for a child in out-of-home care components and placements are indeed included in one of those strata of payment formats.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, does your department have a formal mechanism to review any carer's situation if, under the new subsidy arrangements, those carers are disadvantaged or worse off than under previous arrangements?

MS BURCH: The department works closely, through both the kinship carers and the foster carers, and they were part and parcel of the review of the contingencies and subsidies payment. I know there were a number of meetings and a number of discussions through those groups and the department to clarify and to outline our process and how the calculations came to be. If an individual carer is facing financial difficulties, I would hope they would raise that with their case manager in the department and so that, as appropriate—

Ms Hunter: Mr Speaker, I have a point of order around answering the question directly. The question was actually about whether there was a formal mechanism to review any carers who, under the new subsidy arrangements, find that they are disadvantaged or worse off than they were under the previous arrangements.

Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, I think it is reasonable in this place for any minister to rise in this place and to put a context about the response. Sometimes it is not possible to just say yes or no. I would just ask that members allow that sort of thing.

MR SESELJA: Ms Burch?

MS BURCH: I was getting to that. If there was a carer who felt disadvantaged, they could raise it with the case manager. But the context was that the carer groups have been involved and have been well briefed on how we constructed the new costing arrangements.


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