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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2521 ..


The report recognised the important role many emergency relief providers therefore play in being the first point of contact for vulnerable Canberrans. The report highlighted existing good practice in the sector and the need to further develop a model in which vulnerable families are supported, included and referred to appropriate services. By helping to link families and individuals to information where appropriate, emergency relief providers can play a role in enabling people to participate in school and community life, building capacity and resilience.

The report’s findings along with conversations at two community forums helped to shape the new requirements for delivery of emergency service in the ACT, resulting in a greater focus on organisations taking a relational approach. Rather than simply focussing on poverty and its symptoms, this approach includes services such as advocacy, case management, counselling and referrals, all contributing to social inclusion.

MS CODY: Minister, how will this redesigned program better support Canberrans in need?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Cody for her supplementary question. This redesign has resulted in a more strategic approach in the investment in critical food assistance and emergency support services to ensure that Canberrans get the support they need when they need it. It also provided an opportunity to test the market and engage new service providers.

I was excited in June to welcome OzHarvest to the program for the first time, boosting the supply of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as helping to tackle the challenge of food waste. OzHarvest already rescues between 35,000 and 40,000 kilograms of fresh and frozen food each month in Canberra. Funding through the ACT government food assistance grants will enable them to rescue more food and get it to more agencies and charities.

I am pleased that this recent process built on the expertise of the sector and would like to acknowledge the collaborative work of the Community Services Directorate and community partners in implementing this redesign. Through the redesign process we found that Canberrans in need are looking for and hoping for more. The redesign allows organisations, both new and existing, to step up and provide better support.

Patrick McKenna, Director of Compliance and Governance at St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn, said in relation to Vinnies emergency relief programs:

We are very pleased to be able to continue our emergency relief support via our helpline and home visits provided by our employees and volunteer members.

Our people are passionate about helping those in need in their local community and this service has been at the core of our work to help people break the cycle of disadvantage since the St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in 1833.

Of course we would all prefer that emergency support not be needed. However, I am confident that these new measures will assist families and, through earlier intervention


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