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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1846 ..

MS TUCKER: It was clear in the Estimates Committee that they have not examined many of the implications themselves, and they are not allowing the Assembly the opportunity to examine them.

Mr Connolly: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I apologise to Ms Tucker; but is the loud interjection of "smart arse" from the Deputy Chief Minister a parliamentary term? Will you do something about the standards of conduct of that man?

MR SPEAKER: I did not hear the interjection, Mr Connolly; but if the term was used I would ask the Minister to withdraw it.

Mr De Domenico: Any term that makes Mr Connolly feel so precious I will withdraw, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr De Domenico.

MS TUCKER: As I was saying, it was clear in the Estimates Committee that the Government has not examined the implications. There is a dearth of qualitative indicators in almost all areas of Government policy and in no place is this as evident as in the contracting out of Kaleen Youth Shelter. We therefore urge members of this Assembly to support this motion, which will allow considered examination of the benefits and costs of this initiative.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Children's and Youth Services) (11.12): Mr Speaker, the Kaleen Youth Shelter is a shelter established under the Children's Services Act 1986. It provides care for children aged between 12 and 17 years who are on court orders because they are at risk of abuse or neglect or because they must reside as directed by the Director of Family Services as a condition of bail. In considering the most efficient and effective way of providing for this group of young people, the Family Services Branch is constantly reviewing all its service provisions. The large bulk of Family Services provisions for the children in the care of the director are contracted out to the non-government sector, and this has always been the situation in the ACT, as it is in the other States. Mr Speaker, New South Wales, for instance, is now contracting out all its residential and foster care services for children and young people. New South Wales, of course, is a Labor State.

Members will recall that for many years Marymead, Barnardos and the Richmond Fellowship were the only providers of residential and foster care in the ACT. There is a proud tradition of quality service to children by non-government organisations in this Territory. Far from not meeting with the staff and the union representatives, Ms Tucker, I met them in August and took on board some of the things they raised, including the need for a tender such as that which occurred. It was interesting talking to them. At no stage did they question the ability of Richmond Fellowship to run the shelter well. Marymead's shelter service for younger children is run under strict contract to the Director of Family Services. There is no legal impediment to this arrangement, and all the director's responsibilities under the Children's Services Act 1986 are provided for in this arrangement. Under the contracts with Family Services, agencies are obliged to accept referrals.

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