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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4119 ..

Our out-of-home care system is built on the commitment of carers to provide safety, care, support and love to children and young people who need it. As we plan for the future of the out-of-home care system in the ACT through the next iteration, A Step Up For Our Kids, the out-of-home care strategy, improving the way we support carers in the system is a critical area of focus. The voices of carers, along with the children and young people they care for, are fundamental to this work.

In developing the next strategy, we have heard from carers about their experiences, thoughts and ideas on the child protection system and out-of-home care. Carers are truly the backbone of the out-of-home care system and make a massive difference in the lives of the most vulnerable children and young people in our community.

I also want to acknowledge the work of Carers ACT in advocating for carers involved in the out-of-home care system in addition to all the work that they do with those who are more traditionally thought of as carers in our system. I look forward to continuing to work with Carers ACT and, in particular, CEO Lisa Kelly, who is here today and whose presence I acknowledge, as we finalise the next phase of the Step Up for Our Kids strategy.

Before I summarise, Madam Speaker, I would like to respond to Mr Milligan’s comments. I note he has managed to come up with a long list of things that this bill should have done, could have done and would have done, if he could have done it differently. Mr Milligan, you are a member of this Legislative Assembly. You have the opportunity to bring forward amendments if you want to. If you think this bill should have been different, you could have done that. Standing there and criticising this bill, which has the support of the carer community and which Ms Orr has brought forward to recognise the hard work of carers and the value that they offer to our community, was a pretty churlish response.

This bill enshrines the need for governments and organisations, now and into the future, to listen to carers, to take their concerns on board and to actively respond. This is a good thing for those who need care and, of course, for carers themselves.

In her presentation speech on this bill Ms Orr stated that people come into this place in the hope of making a positive change. With this bill, Ms Orr is certainly achieving that goal. I commend the bill, and I thank Ms Orr for her strong advocacy and the support she continues to provide for carers in the ACT.

Finally, I acknowledge and pay tribute to the many carers across our community—the children and young people, adults and families who, through their quiet strength and enduring commitment, make Canberra a more inclusive place for us all. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (5.08), in reply: I rise in closing, and to foreshadow that I will be moving some amendments to the bill in the detail stage. I would like to thank my colleagues who added constructively to the debate. I also acknowledge Mr Milligan’s comments. They were not quite as constructive as one would have hoped. I would also note Mr Milligan could have had a briefing from us on the bill, and we have been

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