Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1673 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

I agree with Mr Corbell when he said it is important to recognise the diversity of families that exist in our communities. Ms Dundas referred to this as well. I would add to this by stressing the importance of recognising the diversity of ethnic backgrounds of families in the ACT.

Given the intergenerational report included as part of yesterday's federal budget, it is timely to reflect on the changing composition of the family, in particular the role of older Australians in the family unit, the contributions they make and the ways in which they will be supported. I know that the ACT government is committed to the whole-of-government issue of supporting the wellbeing of our older citizens.

Another important focus of the Stanhope government is on indigenous family support. One of the excellent programs aimed specifically at supporting indigenous families is the Billabong Aboriginal Corporation, which targets indigenous families in the Belconnen region. This program fosters and encourages the development of a resilient and supportive Belconnen indigenous community. It is very worth while. This is what we need-programs aimed at specific groups that work with groups to build on their own support networks and encourage these people to access the services offered by the wider community as well.

Family support services are vital to preventing child abuse and to helping each child develop his or her full potential. Research confirms that family support services can provide an enormous range of benefits to families and to the community as a whole. Good family support services can reduce the need for foster care and out-of-home placements, improve parenting, reduce delinquency and involvement with the justice system, reduce substance abuse among family members, prevent premature family breakdown, improve educational outcomes for children and young people identified as at risk, and reduce the incidence of family violence.

This is not by any means a definitive list of the advantages of having good family support services in place, but it does serve to remind us all that the community as a whole will benefit from family support services. I believe that the community as a whole is a big family in itself. I view myself as being part of my own blood family and also my family of friends, who I am often closer to and get more support from than blood relations. I also view myself as being part of the family of community. That is something that we continuously need to strive towards improving.

Ms Dundas said that she hopes this government does not fall into the same trap or mindset as the federal government. I can assure her that this is a government with very different priorities and that that is unlikely to happen.

I repeat what Mr Corbell has said. The Stanhope government is committed to supporting families in the ACT. We intend to continue with that commitment and to work with the community to improve circumstances for all families by well-targeted and planned family support services.


(5.44): Mr Speaker, I support this motion to celebrate the International Day of Families. It is very important that we do not marginalise those who are not in families. While we stand here and celebrate the family structure, we must remind all of our

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .