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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 3 Hansard (21 March) . . Page.. 1047..


school, it has meant that one or other parent or carer has had to give up paid employment.

Not only has this placed financial pressure and burden on the family but, for many, it has also been an incredibly important part of their lives to be able to engage in that work and also the social side of work. It is important for them to maintain their social networks with their peers and friends as well. That is why we do need to be looking at the options and provide the level of support needed.

Twelve hours a week I do not believe is where we should be at all. I think it is inadequate. We need to be looking at how we can increase that number of hours. This is a very loud call from many, many parents and families that I am sure we have all spoken to.

Mr Doszpot and Ms Burch have spoken about social enterprises that have been set up, and JACKmail is one of those social enterprises. There have been many parents who have not been able to find an option or they consider the best option is to set up a small business for their child or young person. Ronnie's Succulent Snails would be another great example of this.

I applaud those families for doing it. But of course there are many families who do not want to take that path or who are unable to take that path. That is why we need to be looking at how we can provide those pathways into the ACT public service, for instance. It is another reason why the Greens put up the motion about social procurement and the importance of at least three projects being put in place and up and running in the area of social procurement. Again, it is about providing these options, these pathways.

A lot of work has gone into this discussion paper. I am pleased that it will be available this afternoon, along with the survey. It is important that we do hear those life experiences, we do hear straight from those who are experiencing it what it is that they are having an issue with, where they believe they can see solutions and gaps and new options that should be made available.

That is what it is about. The process is to get that information, put together the action plan that we can present back and hopefully get some more reform in this area. But of course I do not want to forget that reform has been going on. I congratulate those within CSD, those within Disability ACT, those within the many community organisations who provide incredibly innovative programs, important programs, from respite support through to the social side of things, through to employment and training—the whole gamut of services out there who do a great job every day.

Again, thank you for the support. The motion has been supported by all in the chamber this afternoon. I think that shows that there is a real will and commitment of this Assembly to support these young people to have a bright, happy and fulfilling future, and also that their families will be acknowledged for the wonderful job they do in raising their children and that they will be supported in doing that.


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