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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 802 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

she started using heroin again. This was followed by another overdose, after which she left Toora to stay with a friend.

I understand that Stacey returned to Toora. She had been bashed and most of her belongings had been stolen. She accessed detox again, then returned to Toora to await readmission to a rehabilitation centre. Two weeks after her return to Toora she entered rehabilitation where she stayed for three months. Toora recognises that chemical dependency is a chronic relapsing condition and that often intervention support occurs over a period of time with possible multiple visits to the service. Stacey has not returned to the service since treatment. She has had contact with a range of supports, which may be useful to her in the future. Stacey is a good example of what it means to be a "complex needs" client. Needless to say, pressure on staff has increased significantly as a result of the increasing number of clients with "complex needs".

I have raised this issue and these case studies because of what I would expect to be the life experience of most of us-that most of us in this place cannot honestly relate on a personal level to the kind of degradation that these women have experienced and the support that they need. We would not want to. It is not part of the life experience of most of us, but it is important that we understand these things.

This sort of description of clients accessing services in Canberra illustrates the need to understand, address and acknowledge the plight of some of our neighbours, fellow citizens and residents. We will be judged by the way we as a community meet the needs of people that are on the fringe, that are disadvantaged, and that have a range of complex needs, which it seems we do not meet as well as we should. On the eve of International Women's Day it is appropriate that we consider and reflect on this motion and the needs of these women.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (5.08): The government takes pleasure in supporting the motion noting the significance of International Women's Day, and considers it quite appropriate for the Legislative Assembly to reaffirm its commitment to women in crisis.

Tomorrow the Chief Minister will make a ministerial statement in the Assembly during which he will speak at length in acknowledgment of International Women's Day. Last week I indicated to members at the government business meeting what was planned so that they could prepare speeches to make tomorrow. I am a little surprised that Mr Stanhope did not take the opportunity to make his speech then, but it is fine that he has done so today.

I certainly do not want to pre-empt the statement that will be made by the Chief Minister tomorrow. Suffice it to say that he will be confirming this government's commitment to improving the status of women in the ACT and reporting on the government's progress to date in developing and implementing policies and programs in partnership with women in the community. The Chief Minister will also be presenting ACT women's awards in public recognition of women's contributions to the ACT community. There will be an acknowledgment of their achievements in the context of this international celebration.

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