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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3341 ..

We have community service providers who wish to be able to increase their capacity to partner with schools and provide targeted intensive supports to students and their families to avoid crisis. This budget ignores their requests. We have a Conflict Resolution Service that helps to avoid court cases but finds itself underfunded and overwhelmed by surging demand. This budget leaves it high and dry.

In conclusion, the funding commitment to community services in this budget is effectively a reduction because, as recently noted by former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, the growth in funding is actually less than inflation. I echo Mr Stanhope’s assessment of this government’s approach to its 2018–19 budget:

It goes without saying that all of these cuts will impact disproportionately and dramatically on the most poor, disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised people in our community.

This is a tragedy. Canberrans rightly expect better of their current government, and so do I.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (5.08): I am pleased to speak about my portfolio responsibilities as Minister for Veterans and Seniors. Both veterans and seniors bring their skills, their life experience, and their wisdom to the continuing contribution they make to this community. The significance of veterans and seniors to the ACT community is recognised strongly in the 2018-19 budget allocation of additional funding for the ACT government veterans employment strategy, the introduction of a dedicated veterans grants program, the creation of a seniors rights service, enhancements to key health services for older Canberrans, and for initiatives to ease cost of living pressures for older Canberrans.

The ACT government honours and respects those who have served our country through the Australian Defence Force. We are working to increase recognition of veterans’ skills and experience and to strengthen their opportunities to participate in civilian employment, and in the Canberra community more broadly. The 2018-19 budget includes an allocation of funding to continue to deliver on the ACT government veterans employment strategy. Through this strategy the ACT public service will seek to increase the recruitment and retention of veterans and become a model employer of veterans in the territory. The benefits of employing veterans flow to individual veterans and their families but also to the territory as a whole through the utilisation of some of the most highly trained and skilled workers available.

Also included in the 2018-19 budget is an allocation of funding for the expansion of the veterans and seniors participation grants program. An additional $80,000 per year has been made available to support the creation of a separate and distinct grants round for veterans. This grants program will allow organisations to enhance the support they provide veterans and their families in the ACT, and I look forward to launching this round in the coming weeks.

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