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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 4 March 2004) . . Page.. 762 ..

community’s attention on those issues. The ACT government has recognised the enormity of women’s issues and addressed issues of violence and community safety for women by developing the framework of Justice, options and prevention—working to make the lives of ACT women safe.

The framework identifies three major outcome areas: a justice system that provides protection, support, and advocacy for women; assistance for women that is appropriate, accessible, and responsive; and that the community understands and accepts the right of all women to live their lives free of violence. The framework requires government agencies to develop “action plans” each year which identify tangible ways in which they will implement the goals of the framework.

The implementation of the Select Committee on the Status of Women’s report recommendations is further proof of the government’s commitment to addressing and improving women’s safety in the ACT. I just briefly commend and applaud the work that the Select Committee on the Status of Women in the ACT did and also pay tribute to the Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, for having recognised when we first came into government that this was an issue which needed to be looked into.

A number of measures to improve women’s lot have been taken from the government’s response to violence against women, including: reforming criminal law in relation to sexual assault and domestic violence; new security measures, where Family Court officers meet women in the car park and escort them into the court; new education programs that aim to help all family members after violence has been perpetrated; and a new forensic and medical sexual assault care unit which provides an integrated sexual assault service for adults.

This government is also committed to increasing the representation of women in government and public office. At the moment about 49 per cent of the members of ACT government boards and committees are women. That is by far the highest rate of participation in Australia and this government is actively working to achieve our target of 50 per cent representation of women. Here in the ACT we should be proud of the level of participation of women in decision-making bodies and of the significant benefits for our community resulting from this. I am very proud of the level of participation that the Stanhope Labor government has been seeking to achieve and has, in the main, been achieving.

International Women’s Day provides us all with the opportunity to recognise the contributions of women in their roles as decision-makers in our community. It is also an opportunity for all of us to commit to continuing to lead the way towards a society in which all decision-making bodies at all levels are inclusive of and truly reflect the full diversity of our community.

I look forward to International Women’s Day on Monday. I will be attending both the International Women’s Day breakfast, which is held annually, and a luncheon being put on by training and adult education, which will be interesting. These events give women across the ACT the opportunity to discuss how far we have come and how much further we have to go. I urge all members to get involved in the International Women’s Day activities and show their support to the women of the ACT, Australia, and the world.

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