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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1462 ..


Minister, does the ACT still have a service that provides interview friends for Indigenous suspects?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mrs Kikkert for the question. My understanding is that this was funded by JACS through the Attorney-General’s portfolio, so I will take that question on notice and come back to Mrs Kikkert.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, if neither the Aboriginal Legal Service nor Anglicare provides interview friends for Indigenous suspects, how is ACT Policing compliant with the act, and is there compliance for every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suspect?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mrs Kikkert for the supplementary question. There are rigorous compliance checks for ACT Policing and the work they do in our community. We see that often reported both in the media and in the reports that I table here in the Assembly. I am quite confident that they are compliant with their own regulations and acts.

MR HANSON: Minister, why did the government abolish funding for this program that supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suspects? Where has that money been redirected?

MR GENTLEMAN: As I said, this was funded through JACS, through the Attorney-General’s portfolio. I will take that question on notice. I am not sure if the premise of the question is correct, but I will check for you.

Housing—COVID-19

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. How has the ACT government supported community housing providers and tenants through the COVID-19 pandemic?

MS BERRY: Last year and even leading into this year during the international health pandemic that we all faced there were obviously people in our community that were affected more than others. Through the economic stimulus that the ACT government provided to support Canberrans, we provided $2.2 million in an additional $250 payment to all social housing tenants, which included families within community housing. That was over 1,400 community housing households that received that payment. I have heard from tenants that coupled other financial support that was provided last year that this payment provided much relief and helped with extra costs.

Over the nine months until 1 January 2021, $3 million was provided to community housing providers in rent relief. Providers were given flexibility to decide how that would best support their tenants. It was in addition to the investments that were made by the ACT government to support solar and sustainability upgrades on community housing, which will always provide a long-term benefit to tenants.


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