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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (4 August) . . Page.. 3426..

MR WOOD (continuing):

items on the agenda was a discussion about the supported accommodation assistance program, or SAAP, a matter that I am sure is of great interest to members in this chamber. That joint program of the states, territories and the Commonwealth provides supported accommodation to homeless people, or people at risk of homelessness.

I note that the current SAAP agreement expires in under a year. The federal minister, Senator Patterson, agreed that negotiations with the states and territories should commence on the next SAAP 5 agreement. Anxiety was expressed in some quarters as it was thought that there might not be a new agreement. The ministers present at that meeting were pleased to learn that the Commonwealth is committed to implementing a further agreement.

In the current financial year the Commonwealth will contribute $5.8 million to SAAP. In the ACT this government is contributing $8 million, a sum boosted by the ACT budget provision of $3 million. The contribution of the ACT government represents 58 per cent of the total ACT budget. The government used the SAAP 5 negotiations to seek matched funds from the Commonwealth for the additional $3 million allocation. Members should remember that this government has committed to that program over a number of years. I hope that we will attract Commonwealth subsidies to bring spending to over $16 million, which is needed.

MS MacDONALD: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, you did not state what was happening locally to expand services for the homeless.

MR WOOD: A lot is happening locally. In July, I was pleased to announce a major expansion of supported accommodation services. As I indicated in answer to the first part of the member's question, during 2004 this government will be establishing a total of 11 new services at a cost of $3 million to address homelessness in a number of ways. I mentioned earlier that that $3 million is part of the $13.4 million that has been allocated by this government. I was able to announce nine new services that have been selected through the open tender process. Two other services providing supported accommodation and outreach services to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders will be identified later this year.

It is pleasing that the tender process revealed a commitment by a number of services to work together, sharing experience, skills and abilities. For example, we have an exciting partnership between CANFaCS and Inanna. CANFaCS, the Canberra Fathers and Children Service Inc., provides supported accommodation to families headed by a single male, while Inanna provides supported accommodation to single women and families headed by a single female. The collaboration of those services will result in a regionally based family service, with each organisation bringing its own talents.

I was also pleased to see the model of outreach for young people proposed by Anglicare. That service will help young people who have recently acquired independent accommodation to sustain their tenancies. The Stanhope government is not only committed to breaking cycles of homelessness, it is also committed to supporting people as they make the transition from homelessness to independent long-term accommodation.

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