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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2238 ..

I would like to go to a few things in Mr Doszpot’s motion and I would say that, in relation to (2)(b), which I do support—which is to meet with the Shepherd Centre and Noah’s Ark to ascertain the viability of service continuation alternatives, reporting back to the Assembly by the last sitting day in June 2010—I would put in a note of caution that it is only a week or so away. I do understand the argument that the tender process and so forth obviously have been worked on for some significant time; so you would think that there would be something there to report. I guess I would understand if the whole process had not been completed but I do take your point that there should be some considerable work done.

Looking down the motion, I think it is important that parents of children affected by the discontinuation of this federal-commonwealth funding be included in conversations, be included in discussions, along with the organisations they have been provided services by, to look at models for the future. In tender processes not everybody is a winner but I certainly think the organisations who have been delivering services over a considerable time also need to be part of the conversations that go on around what works, what does not work and how everybody can fit into the landscape to ensure seamless service delivery to families.

I suppose linked-up service delivery is incredibly important, particularly for families that find that they do have a baby who has got some sort of disability—in this case, hearing impairment or deafness. They do want to do the best by their child and when they find a service provider—such as the Shepherd Centre that provides them with the right support or Noah’s Ark with the one-on-one support that really matches with their family, that supports their child and gives their child the best support available in those early years of life to ensure, hopefully, the best success of being able to speak, to be able to move into mainstream schools and so forth—we need to ensure that these organisations are respected, that they are valued and that they are part of conversations around what the future of service provision in this town should look like.

I do take the point that there does need to be good connection between non-government service delivery and school service delivery as well. That makes a lot of sense but, as I said, we should not take our non-government organisations for granted. They are incredibly important partners in the delivery of services to many families and they need to be a key in those conversations in looking at what the future of service delivery, funding and viability of these organisations are all about.

As I said, the ACT Greens will be supporting the motion and we call on the ACT government to bear in mind the needs of the students and families using the services of these organisations and ensure that they are not overly affected by new arrangements. And by that, I am talking about that transition.

As I said, I have been out there in the community sector for many years and tendered for many projects and it is important, particularly for these 20 or so families that at the moment are receiving support from the Shepherd Centre, if there are changed arrangements in the future, that we make sure that those families are properly supported in any transitional arrangements that go on. That is critical. We cannot

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