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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1668 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

The project will be undertaken in consultation with the child-care profession, the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union and other interested stakeholders.

Focusing on improving outcomes in the child-care industry is a very important way of providing support for families, particularly that ever-increasing percentage of families where the sole parent or both parents are in the work force.

The ACT Labor Party and the government have a policy commitment to implement paid paternity leave for private sector employees through a portability fund-a significant commitment to allow workers in the private sector to have paid maternity leave portable between jobs so they do not lose it every time they change employment. That is another key commitment aimed at supporting working families.

The government has also been looking into the provision of occasional care services in Canberra. A quality service has been provided over many years, and we are looking at ways it can continue to meet the changing needs of children and families in Canberra.

The government is strongly committed to families. I could go on for some time listing a number of other programs. What I have outlined to members this evening highlights the range and diversity of programs, both new and ongoing, that the government believes provide essential support to families in Canberra.

I am not going to pre-empt any budget initiatives, but I can indicate that the interest expressed by members in the debate this evening will be taken into account in the government's development of its first budget.

The final point I make is that we should not forget our school system, especially our public school system in Canberra. The public school system and indeed the non-government school system are committed to working with families in our community. The ACT schools system has a close partnership with the families of children attending our schools. Any day of the week you go into a public school or a private school you will almost inevitably see parents there supporting teachers and their children in a good educational context.

The ACT government provides grants to the Parents and Friends Association and to the preschool association to support them in their vital work with the government school and preschool systems.

The government is demonstrating a commitment to families. Days such as today, the International Day of the Family, are a good reminder of the significance of the family as an institution in our community, what it provides and the need to continue to provide families with ongoing support.

MS DUNDAS (5.20): I thank Mrs Cross for bringing this motion on for debate. I also welcome Minister Corbell's comment that he will take into account what we are saying in this debate.

The International Day of Families has global significance, but in an endeavour to influence the 2002-03 budget I would like to talk more about non-traditional families. Unfortunately, the federal government seems to have a mindset that leads it to talk about

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