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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3712..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

were managed with an indigenous child protection worker, last year 121 reports were received concerning indigenous children that proceeded to appraisal visits. Of those 121 reports, 36 involved visits to the indigenous family by an indigenous child protection worker.

The other part of the question related to the retention rates for indigenous child protection workers and the retention rates for non-indigenous child protection workers. Overall, there has been a 55 per cent annual turnover rate for all child protection workers. The average duration of employment for indigenous child protection workers in the department is less than 12 months. There have been very few indigenous workers in the child protection system. In fact, last year there were three. The small numbers do have an impact on the statistics.

There are some significant issues that we are dealing with at the moment in trying to address some of the cultural sensitivities that are connected with the indigenous workers' desire to work within Family Services and they certainly have an impact on the ability to recruit and then retain indigenous staff. We are doing a number of things in order to address them. One of them is by ensuring that the indigenous workers assume more of a community development or support role, which allows them to support the family where a report has been made and can assist non-indigenous workers to understand the indigenous community in terms of child protection.

This approach has positive benefits as the indigenous workers are not involved in face-to-face child protection or removing children from the home, but they can provide a consultative role to the non-indigenous workers through the process and they are able then to support and assist the family with understanding the legal requirements and duty of care in child protection matters.

An indigenous team leader and an indigenous worker were recently employed under this policy and recruitment is under way for an additional worker. The current indigenous worker has been in the job for less than six months and the team leader has just started work, so turnover figures are not available for those positions.

Building guidelines

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I have further information to provide on a question Mr Cornwell asked in question time today relating to the approval of a carport for a private dwelling. The advice I have is that ACTPLA approved the double carport, subject to its being behind the building line, which would have required moderate changes to the building itself, or relocation to another side of the block.

The proponent was not happy with this approach. ACTPLA, however, conditionally approved the application because ACTPLA believed it would be further negotiated and an acceptable outcome would be achieved. This is a common practice, as it leaves the door open to negotiate a preferred outcome on the part of all parties.

The proponent, however, chose to exercise their right to take the matter to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The AAT reviewed the application and took the decision that Mr Cornwell outlined in his question to me.


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