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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 December 2016) . . Page.. 223 ..

Portfolio priorities—Minister Gentleman—Ministerial statement, 15 December 2016.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Portfolio priorities

Ministerial statement

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (10.42): As I indicated to the Assembly on Tuesday, with the privilege of appointment to the ministry comes the responsibility for ensuring that those who are marginalised are fully included in our society. When we have relationships and connections that are just and healthy, marked by equality, respect, care and dignity, we will be able to build a society where everyone belongs, everyone is valued and everyone can participate

I am committed to building a Canberra community that is safe, strong and connected, and I am working towards establishing Canberra as a restorative city. This begins with having a strong relational understanding of our fellow human beings, of who we are and what we need from one another.

One of the ways that I will be getting down to business in this area will be to work collaboratively with judges, magistrates and other parts of the justice and health systems to lay the foundations for a drug and alcohol court. The evidence is strong that if we provide the right support services to people with drug and alcohol problems at the right point in their contact with the judicial system, we can address these dependencies and, in turn, build more resilient people, families and communities.

Justice is true justice only when it is accessible, transparent and timely. So we are working towards more modern and efficient courts, demonstrated by a best practice court service framework, integrated case management and a new Supreme Court building, all of which bring a stronger capacity to accommodate the ACT’s justice needs to ensure people’s rights are protected.

I will protect and enhance access to justice by all members of the community, no matter how disadvantaged or vulnerable, by ensuring that community legal centres are adequately funded. I am disappointed that the commonwealth government has ignored calls from state and territory governments and the community sector to maintain core funding to community legal centres.

In contrast, the ACT government funds a number of important services in the ACT legal assistance sector, and I will ensure that funding is maintained, and that funding for the Environmental Defenders Office is reinstated for at least two years. I

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