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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2782 ..

MR STEFANIAK: However, we are still expecting, Mr Speaker, that there will be some increase and we are adopting this staged approach so that the Government will be able to know exactly how much extra it has to put in. I think that both I and the Chief Minister have said on a number of occasions that we expect to have to put in more money. That is something the Government expects. We realise that we have a duty to ensure that we end up with a system that is exemplary and can do its best to counter this rather prevalent blight on certain sections of our community. In terms of the actual costs, that assessment is ongoing, Mr Whitecross, but we fully intend to fund the scheme properly.

MR WHITECROSS: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I am somewhat confused because Mrs Carnell said, by way of interjection, that it might not be anything and you are saying that there will be some. Mr Stefaniak, can you explain how evaluating the training will lead you to an understanding of how much more resources will be needed for following up cases? Is it not the case that Family Services is already unable to deal with the number of reports it is getting on a voluntary basis? Is it not, therefore, the case that more resources are necessary just to deal with the current load, let alone the load that might come with the implementation of mandatory reporting?

MR STEFANIAK: I will take the second part of your supplementary question first, Mr Whitecross. Family Services, I think, is in far better shape than when you lot were in power. I seem to recall that when we got into power there were about 12 positions which had to be filled. It was in a crisis state. Those positions have been filled.

Mr Whitecross, in relation to the first part of your supplementary question, the training is important because once people are trained we can evaluate how much the incidence increases in that area. That will enable us to come up with a figure in terms of putting in more resources. Progressively, over the four areas of Canberra, we will have an idea, once the training has been completed. People will know what is expected of them. We will be able to see whether there is an increase and what the increase is, which will enable us to assess the level of additional resources that may be needed.

Rape Crisis Centre

MS REILLY: My question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care, Mrs Carnell. Minister, will you explain why the Rape Crisis Centre has been told to reduce the level of service that it provides to women in Canberra to such an extent that the after-hours service will have to effectively close? Will you tell this Assembly and every woman in Canberra why your Government is willing to discriminate against victims of sexual abuse in this way and leave them without support if they are unfortunate enough to be assaulted outside office hours?

MRS CARNELL: There is no intention whatsoever to close down the Rape Crisis Centre. In fact, I understand that the Rape Crisis Centre has been given $40,000 per annum from July, the first triennial grant. That is on top of their normal operational funding which is in place as well. It would appear that the Rape Crisis Centre is being funded very adequately.

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