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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2531 ..

MS McRAE: I realise that it is a little difficult for you to follow, Mr Stefaniak. On radio, I supported the beginning of the project. I said that I was not pleased that it was only in one area. I do not take to going on radio and making emotive and inflammatory statements about mandatory reporting. I will in here, because it is your responsibility. Even in here I am not asking you to implement it. I have repeatedly said that I want to see long-term and careful planning to build up the resources. I think that one trainer in one area is disgraceful. I think that at the very least you could have had three. Then at least they could have supported each other and worked together.

You are allocating $50,000, and one region is being done first. As it is, I cannot understand the logic of it. Why were not all the doctors, all the nurses or all the teachers everywhere done together? No; it is limited to one region. I understand that you may have some idea, but at the Estimates Committee it was a disgraceful performance. Then for you to come into the chamber was at least a step forward. I praised it on radio because it was at least a step forward. Now I want to put it to you in here - not in the press, not out loud, not with press releases, but in here, when we are looking at this line item - that you have not given this area sufficient thought, sufficient resources and sufficient guidance to ensure that in your three years we are a little closer to offering the protection that we need to offer.

I am very pleased that children's, family and youth services are now together. I think that it is very logical to combine the three services. I have heard that that type of combination within the Education Department has already reaped good rewards, which makes it even more important that this planning is done thoroughly and properly and is properly resourced. As these three different departments start to work together, the proper support needs to be given to people. Then the proper action, backup, activity and chastisement, I suppose, of those involved in child abuse can occur in an integrated and proper fashion.

I want to put on record that the way that you dealt with the budget in the Estimates Committee and your slightly improved position since are still not good enough. The debate on the motion before the Assembly has not finished. No doubt we will all have a go at it and probably pass it. It was quite clear, from the debate on the motion before the estimates process, that Assembly members were united in their view that that type of planning had to happen. The inadequacy of the resources that have been put to it is very disappointing.

MR OSBORNE (3.09 am): I support what Ms McRae has just said. I have been a big advocate of mandatory reporting in this house and in the media. I find it very hard to fathom how the Government, as Ms McRae said, would choose only one area and allocate only $50,000. By comparison, I believe that the amount being spent to upgrade Learmonth Drive is about $90,000.

The unfortunate thing is that abuse of children is far too common. The opponents, the people who do not believe in this type of reporting, claim that it is open to abuse; that oftentimes children cannot be trusted in what they say. I am of the belief that, if there are a thousand complaints reported but only one of them is proven to be true, it is well worth

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