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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . .

Page.. 3246..

In short, we want to make sure it is easier for community organisations to work with us as a government.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, what feedback has there been from the sector about these changes?

MR GENTLEMAN: The short answer is that everyone likes having red tape reduced. Feedback on issues like the introduction of recurrent grants has been very positive. Equally, feedback on the introduction of the single relationship manager model has been very positive. Organisations that we have funded for many years have said that they appreciate that their service funding agreements can now be up to five years, with potential for extending for another five years.

Each of the reforms we make chips away at the burden of red tape and each of the reforms we make is appreciated by those who benefit. Spontaneous applause does not usually accompany government announcements, but I understand that is what happened when my predecessor, Minister Barr, announced these reforms at a community sector function in June this year.

I look forward to continuing these reforms into the future and to further developing an effective, streamlined relationship with our community sector partners.

Education—school chaplaincy program

MRS JONES: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, the employment of secular counsellors and chaplains is indeed important to all schools. However, within your direct control is whether the chaplains have the opportunity to continue to be employed. Therefore will you accept the funding for them; yes or no?

MS BURCH: As I have made it very clear here, I am supportive of secular workers and of chaplains, and that these schools are able to maintain the choice and the positions that they have in place. Indeed I would have thought that we could have been united on this and say to the federal government that we here in the ACT respect both and want to provide assurance that schools can maintain both.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, why are you unable to give a direct answer on this matter? Is it because you plan to reject the current funding?

MS BURCH: Because I will continue with the proposition that schools can choose and that chaplains and secular workers are both supported. The independent schools support that position. The Catholic schools support that position. I support that position. Indeed, when I was interviewed on 1WAY FM the commentator, the interviewer there, supported that position.

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