Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3498..
MRS BURKE (continuing):
the minister, however, on some of the issues she has addressed, and I hope that we see a move to the future.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The member's time has expired.
Motion (by Mr Hargreaves) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:
That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent:
(1) debate continuing on order of the day No 1, Assembly business, such debate having precedence over Executive business; and
(2) order of the day No 25, Assembly business, being called on after conclusion of the debate on order of the day No. 1, Assembly business.
MR STEFANIAK (12.02): Mrs Burke mentioned me. I was minister for a while and certainly saw the act come into play initially, so I should say a few words here. I have said a few in the past in relation to this. People talk about funding. In the Estimates Committee or something else it was revealed-and I have certainly refreshed my memory-that we put in, I think over a three-year period, an extra 50 per cent or so in funding. Quite obviously this government has put in a lot of money, and that may well be needed. Mrs Burke is quite right: money can go some way but you need to look at the culture of organisations and see how you can improve that. Quite clearly there have been some problems there.
Back in 1996 mandatory reporting of child abuse was supported by everyone on both sides of this house, and we resolved to implement it. I recall that quite an amount of training occurred in relation to professionals. There was an increase in the amount of reported child abuse and various other mechanisms were put in place. At the same time a lot of work was done to improve the Children's Services Act, which came into effect in May 2000. A lot of work went into that-there was a lot of consultation with the various groups. I recall heaps of consultation not only with the department but also with the foster carers, for example, other groups involving child protection, the courts and even the DPP. It was a significant effort that won praise from both sides of the Assembly when it came in.
Obviously, some of these problems go back a while-not just in the last 12 months or anything; not just since this minister was minister. I was racking my brains to see what I was told, and maybe what I could have done better. It is difficult for a minister if you are not told to start with. You cannot simply clone yourself and be in every single room in every single office in your department, especially if it is a big one. You rely, to a large extent, on what you are told, but there probably are a few little triggers that can assist you in driving for better outcomes.
If anything was going amiss I certainly was not told. I ceased to be minister on about 15 December 2000-approximately seven months after this act started-when Mr Moore became minister. Having gone through the reporting requirements under section 162, I was wondering whether any of those occurred in my time. Having checked, I am quite satisfied that that was not the case. There may have been one or two which overflowed into Mr Moore's time; I am not sure.