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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 11 Hansard (23 October) . .

Page.. 3567..


would be no question about jobs for those individuals, as we are growing our mental health service capacity, not shrinking it. In fact one of my biggest concerns in the mental health service system at the moment is the workforce shortage that we experience, and getting suitably qualified staff. Retaining those staff is a major challenge for any mental health service. Particularly, as we start new services like the residential forensic service at the secure mental health unit, which we have not run before, it presents certain challenges. Staff need to be right at the forefront of the discussions over the transition arrangements. They are key information holders and they certainly need to be part of the process; they have been to date and they will continue to be.

Aged persons—concessions

MS LAWDER: My question is to the Minister for Ageing. Minister, in a response Mr Doszpot received from the government on 7 October 2014 in relation to pensioner concessions, Ms Gallagher stated that the ACT government is currently undertaking a review of the concession program. Minister, when will the community be consulted in this process, and what form will those discussions take?

MR BARR: Madam Speaker, I have responsibility for the concession program within the Treasury portfolio. That work is underway. There will be community consultation. Some of that consultation flows from previous ACT government consultation in relation to the targeted assistance strategy. We will undertake further engagement with the community over the coming months, with the expectation of completion of the review in 2015.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, can you guarantee that no seniors will be worse off under the changes?

MR BARR: I am not playing rule in or rule out games ahead of a review.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, will this review address the negative impact on seniors of the government's plan to triple the rates?

MR BARR: The government is not tripling rates. So the question is wrong. It is wrong in fact.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke?

DR BOURKE: Minister, could you tell us some more about the breadth of the concessions program which is offered to aged persons in the ACT?

MR BARR: The program is extensive, offering a range of benefits across the diversity of ACT government programs. Most particularly, a new initiative that was part of the 2014-15 budget provided further stamp duty cuts for people looking to


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