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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3851 ..

MR DAVIS: Minister, how exactly will those studies be conducted to ensure that we get genuine assessment of all species and habitat in that area?

MR GENTLEMAN: We have experts from EPSDD in our environmental area to do those studies. On occasion, they will contract other experts to do some of the field work, as well. You see the results of the previous work in other areas across the ACT, particularly those habitat areas that we have been put aside for endangered habitat and for the opportunity for Canberrans to go out and have a look at those habitats.

There is some of grasslands work that Ms Orr has done. The work on Franklin grasslands, for example, is a good piece to show the sort of work that is done on the ground, looking at particular species and then putting that into policy work for the future.

Budget—children and young people

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Families and Community Services. Minister, how will the ACT budget improve support for children, young people and their families?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for the question. The ACT government is, of course, committed to reducing the number of children entering statutory care, and to continuous improvement in the child and youth protection and out-of-home care systems.

The 2021-22 budget provides funding to advance a number of key projects. As I mentioned during the budget debate, one of the projects that I am personally very proud and pleased to have delivered funding for is the Safe and Connected Youth coordinated service response program. Safe and Connected Youth started as a pilot program, developed and delivered alongside community sector partners. Following the success of this pilot, the budget provides $7 million over four years to deliver therapeutic respite accommodation, early preservation outreach services, including mediation and casework, and post-exit outreach.

This funding delivers a Labor election commitment by continuing and expanding the Safe and Connected Youth Program to include therapeutic respite accommodation, creating a coordinated service response for children, young people and their families. The redevelopment of a Housing ACT property for this purpose was funded through the 2020-21 fast-track program, with the redevelopment of the property co-designed with young people who have a lived experience of homelessness. The property refurbishment is due to be completed in late December, although it may have been somewhat delayed by the inclement weather recently. Internal fit-out of the property with soft furnishings and appliances will commence in early 2022, and the property will be ready for its intended function in the first half of 2022.

The tender for the new and expanded service was released to the market on 5 November, closing on 16 December. The existing service partners will continue to deliver the current program while the procurement process is underway. Both the

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