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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2006) . . Page.. 2948 ..

MS GALLAGHER: We are currently putting together all the issues that were raised at the summit. We will be providing that to all participants, but I cannot see why we would not provide it more broadly.

One of the issues that came up at the women’s summit was that the organisations felt that the government is not so good at articulating all the different things that it is doing in the area of support for women. One of those areas was housing. A lot of work is going on with women’s organisations to improve women’s access to crisis accommodation. In fact, over Christmas last year, DCHS and the Domestic Violence Crisis Service worked together to deliver 1,000 additional bed days for women and children.

It was suggested that we need more exits from crisis into more permanent accommodation. Part of that will be delivered through the budget initiative of transitional housing, which will provide around $4 million worth of properties—around 20 properties—to be used by people, largely women, exiting crisis accommodation and going into more permanent accommodation. There is more to be done, and the feedback from the summit in terms of key areas of pressure centred on the need for affordable housing and exit from crisis accommodation. There is a view that not all women leaving domestic violence want or need to go to a refuge, so we are looking at how we meet their needs.

The other area that came out as needing continued and further attention was domestic violence. All of the organisations agreed that the single biggest issue affecting women in the territory is family violence that occurs in the home. It is not just housing that is needed as a response to that.

I am happy to make the information available to members of the Assembly once we have collated it. The summit was a way of providing the government, through the ministerial council, with advice on where we need to do further work in line with the ACT women’s plan. Those two areas of housing and domestic violence were the key areas that came up on the day.

Tharwa bridge

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services, Mr Hargreaves. Why have you been allowing people to use the Tharwa bridge when it now appears that the bridge has been ordered to be immediately closed by New South Wales authorities and engineers due to risk of collapse? Why has your ACT department failed to recognise the significant danger that the bridge posed to motorists, and why have you allowed this debacle to continue?

MR HARGREAVES: I advise the Assembly that Mr Pratt has, once again, got it wrong. I am happy to correct the record. The issue about the Tharwa bridge has been something that the government has been addressing its mind to for some time, in the context of the bridge itself, in the context of its heritage and usage, in the context of that particular access across the Murrumbidgee as the gateway to the Namadgi National Park and in the context of the economic and social viability of Tharwa village.

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