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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 65 ..

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hargreaves for his question. The ACT Labor government have significantly increased investment in childcare and protection since it came to office. In 2004-05 we boosted funds significantly to support the much-needed reforms to the carer protection system, such as the development of the carer protection data systems, wage supplementation, priority policy and program projects and the centralisation of care and protection services, in addition to a number of one-off individual support packages. By 2008-09 the ACT budget papers showed at output class 4.2, which related to carer protection, that $40.019 million was directed at carer protection. The government provided a further $11 million for child protection in care in the 2009-10 budget. I am pleased to say that this has brought the budget for 2009-10 to $44.7 million.

The recent report on government services does not contain the latest available budget figures or our significant investments in early intervention and prevention or our support for out-of-home carers. What the report does show is that the ACT posts the best results in terms of response times for investigations completed within two months, at 86.3 per cent complete, and within three months, at 95 per cent complete. The ACT has the third highest response time for investigations completed within one month, which is well above the national average of what is reported. It also has the lowest rate of investigations which take longer than 90 days, down at five per cent. This shows that the ACT is working in a timely and responsive way to address the needs of children at risk in our community.

Mr Speaker, I would just like to share with those here that in the 2001-02 budget the investment in care and protection by the Liberal government was $15.1 million, compared to this government’s investment of $44.7 million. The ACT Labor government is committed to continuing to work with our children to keep our children as safe as possible. I thank Mr Hargreaves for his question.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary?

MR HARGREAVES: Thanks very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, how is the government investing in early intervention to support the care and protection system?

MS BURCH: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves, for the question. I remind those opposite that even Mrs Dunne had to step away from ownership of the $15 million when she was asked about a few things on radio. She said, “No, it wasn’t me; I wasn’t there at the time.”

But coming back to your question, Mr Hargreaves, this government has been investing in early intervention and prevention to assist in diverting families and children from the statutory care and protection system. The research tells us that early intervention is the key to protecting our children. Early intervention is not only the right thing to do for our families but it makes economic sense. Early intervention saves us financially down the track, but, more importantly, it produces stronger families and stronger communities.

This government’s funding for early intervention and prevention was not included in the recent report on government services but it is a large part of this government’s

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