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Ms McRae is quite right in saying that, whilst the previous Government maintained that it was committed to mandatory reporting, it made no preparations; that it had no plan to resource the proposal. We intend to implement mandatory reporting. We will do it in a considered way and with proper resourcing, so that children who need protection will get the services they need and deserve.

I do not think the Government has too much of a problem with the part of the motion that says, “... this Assembly requests the Chief Minister to produce a plan for the implementation of mandatory reporting” or with the words “and report on progress towards its implementation”. I do not think that is a problem. It is sensible to keep the Assembly informed of the progress the Government is making in any area and certainly in an area as important as this. I wonder whether it is necessary or desirable, or indeed even practicable, for the Government to report every sitting week until mandatory reporting is operational. By that, does she mean that when we go into a two-week sitting period we will report on the first Tuesday and report again on the following Tuesday, then break for two or three weeks, and then report again? That may be an unrealistically short period of time.

In some instances, if you take what Ms McRae said literally - I assume that that is what she means - a government might report four times in a five-week period. That might be somewhat superfluous. There may not be a huge amount happening. Indeed, a report might be just a duplication of the previous one, simply because things take time. Three- or six-monthly reports by the Government, or something along those lines, might be far more sensible, so that when the Government reports it can report on a number of concrete steps that have actually been taken and the Assembly can see what is happening. If the Assembly thinks progress is a little slow, it can comment; but at least that would be a more realistic timeframe for reporting to the Assembly on the implementation of mandatory reporting. I have great problems with a report on progress towards implementation every sitting week. That is simply too short a time and too unrealistic. The Chief Minister will probably have a few further words to say about that.

Let me reiterate that this Government will implement mandatory reporting. We will do it in a considered way. We will do it with proper resourcing. We will be doing it in a very difficult budgetary situation. We realise that the next few years are going to be very tough. We have been left an awful mess by the previous Government and the economic downturn. We can lay the blame at the feet of the Federal Government as much as we can lay it at the feet of the previous ACT Government. To introduce mandatory reporting properly, we will need proper resourcing. We will do it in our term because we realise that there are children who need protection and who need and deserve special services.

MR CONNOLLY (11.25): Mr Speaker, it is necessary for me to rise as a former Minister for Community Services and Minister for Health and refute the very politicised comment by the Minister that nothing had been done in resourcing to meet the challenge of mandatory reporting. This is an issue that, as Ms McRae has said, goes back many years in the ACT. While legislation was put through this Assembly last year by the then Labor Government to somewhat refine the process for mandatory reporting, the fact is that provisions for mandatory reporting had been part of legislation in the ACT before

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