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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 June 2011) . . Page.. 2271 ..


MS GALLAGHER: It is not an empty statement. I know that outlining these priorities has made it difficult for you over there, because this is about being clear about what our priorities are, to accept that we could always improve what we are doing, to work hard and to be open and transparent about what we are doing. That is what the government will do, and it is clear and it is there for all to see, and indeed it will be there to be measured upon.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Dunne?

MRS DUNNE: Chief Minister, what responsibility do you take as a former minister in this area for failures of governments at Bimberi?

MS GALLAGHER: As the former minister responsible for building Bimberi and also for managing young people at Quamby at the time, I understand the complexity behind this job. It is not an easy job and these are perhaps the most disadvantaged members of our community—the young people that live at Bimberi.

As Chief Minister, I do take responsibility. I look forward to the review from the Human Rights Commission. I look forward to working with Minister Burch in continuing to strive for excellence at Bimberi. I look forward to supporting the staff who work at Bimberi and looking at how we can improve supports to them. There is a whole lot of work to do. Just because you open a centre and it runs for a year, 18 months or two years does not mean that you cannot improve on what you offer.

I have to say that, after being the minister responsible for Quamby and visiting young people out at Quamby with not only the environment but the services that were provided there, Bimberi is a much better experience. That is not to say that it is perfect and that is not to say that we cannot improve. But we have come a long way from the day that I walked in Quamby’s doors and had a look around. We have come a long way but there is more work to be done.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Minister, what responsibility does former Minister Barr have for the failure of governance at Bimberi?

MS GALLAGHER: Again, we go back to the politics of negativity. This is not necessarily about failures; this is about new systems—

Mr Seselja: Bimberi’s been a success?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, Bimberi has been a success on a number of fronts, but, as I said, that does not mean you cannot improve what you do. Do not underestimate the challenge of providing a service to these young people. Do not underestimate it. It is perhaps the hardest job in government, being the minister responsible for juvenile justice and child protection. Having had a few portfolios, I would have to say it is probably one of the hardest. It is probably one of the most heart wrenching as well when you read about the lives of some of these children.


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