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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 1736 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

As I have outlined, this staged regional approach will enable assessment of the impact of training on the level of notifications in a contained area and, with the addition of a small percentage increase for the actual impact of mandating, will give the most accurate assessment available of the increase in demand to be expected across the ACT. Training all groups within a contained area and combining them for training will encourage cooperation and service linkage within local areas. This is a major objective of the national child abuse prevention strategy. The many agencies attending the recent child abuse prevention seminar in Child Protection Week called for support in developing these links. The two strategies will, in effect, be run concurrently in an area. This approach will also allow for the development and testing of the training package in the first stage, which will then be easily moved into the other areas.

It is the Government's intention to set up an interdepartmental committee, which will include the Department of Health and Community Care, the Australian Federal Police, Education and Training, Children's, Youth and Family Services, and the Community Advocate, to steer the process. The committee will also include representatives of relevant professional bodies, particularly those relating to the medical profession. This process will be coordinated from within the Children's, Youth and Family Services Bureau.

Members of the Opposition have tried many times in the months since we came into government to embarrass the Government on this issue. They have made much of their efforts in this area while they were in government, but they never got to the point of implementation. When Ms McRae raised the issue in the Assembly, she clearly stated that she was not after the immediate implementation of mandatory reporting, rather a commitment by the Government and a regular monitoring of progress. I believe that this approach addresses all of the concerns raised throughout the debate on this issue. It combines a gradual approach with a process to measure actual increases in demand. As well, it offers an opportunity for the Government to respond to increased demand if and where it occurs. The $50,000 that was earmarked in the recent budget for mandatory reporting will be combined with $60,000 that is being rolled over from last year and $10,000 in ongoing funds and corporate sponsorship to provide a solid base for the process I have detailed.

I hope that we can now all work together - Government, Opposition and the community sector - to ensure the smooth and successful introduction of this important policy in the ACT. I present the following paper:

Mandatory Reporting - Ministerial statement, 17 October 1995.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Mr Berry) adjourned.

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