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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1280 ..

and Torres Strait people face, and all those programs have inbuilt mechanisms for review around how they are meeting those ongoing demands. Different programs would have different review mechanisms. I am quite happy to offer you a briefing about how they are done on an individual program-by-program basis.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. Minister, it was also noted in the annual report hearing that some Indigenous young people like being in custody as they may be better fed and educated at Bimberi. What role does the government play to support these children and their families to address this concerning situation?

MS BURCH: I do have a memory of those statements within the annual report. It is disturbing that they get picked up for all the wrong reasons as well. As I have said, Aboriginal and Torres Strait people are over-represented in disadvantaged and vulnerable families. I do not think that entry into juvenile justice or Bimberi is, indeed, the answer to support these families. But some of these individuals live in chaos and have complex lives. It is around how we put those support structures around those individuals and families so that it is, indeed, not considered in any way an attractive or sensible option.

I think education is a key, and I am sure Minister Barr is on offer for that, but education within the Bimberi youth justice program is quite a strong program. It leads to providing alternatives and a pathway to these people of getting chaos out of their lives and some sort of strategy and focus within their lives.

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson?

MR HANSON: Minister, what are the areas of Aboriginal disadvantage in the ACT, and what have been the trends lately with regard to that disadvantage?

MS BURCH: There are disadvantages within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait field. As I have said, they are over-represented in areas of vulnerable families in my department, where we have a focus on vulnerable families and those at risk. We work directly and discretely with Aboriginal families. There are a number that have a case manager, and we work with families around what are their housing needs, what are their educational needs, what are their counselling needs, what is it that we can do as a system to help those individuals and families.

Mr Hanson: What are the trends, minister?

MS BURCH: It is with a focus on intervention and changing life circumstances for those families.

Ms Gallagher: He just had it emailed to him, the question. He just had an email from upstairs.


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