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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3880 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

The committee identified several areas where improvements or changes in government policy could be made to achieve positive outcomes for women. These areas are: the government policy coordination process, the measurement of outcomes, the development of information and data, the role of the ACT Office of Women in directing policy, and, importantly, providing policy focus in relation to isolated and marginalised women.

This is a comprehensive report. There are a great number of recommendations and I am sure we all understand that all cannot be addressed immediately. However, it is a report which I believe will remain relevant for several years to come and should be viewed as such. I know there is a great deal of hope and expectation surrounding this report, particularly from the women's sector, and I hope that this report goes some way to meeting this expectation.

Mr Speaker, the report is the result of the hard work of many. Firstly, thank you to all the women and organisations who contributed to this inquiry. Without their generosity and willingness to contribute, the committee work would have been much harder and the level of information base significantly lower.

As usual, the support and contribution from the committee office was first-rate. David Skinner was a continuous source of information, coordination and ideas. The role of the committee secretary in producing the report is always understated, and I would like to thank David for making my first committee as chair such a smooth process.

I would also like to thank Lesley Wheeler and Judy Moutia for their assistance with this report. Finally, my thanks to my committee colleagues, Helen Cross and Roslyn Dundas, for working together to produce the report that we are all proud of. It was a pleasure to be a member of this committee, and it is with some sadness that this committee dissolves with the tabling of this report.

MRS CROSS (10.48): I echo the words of my committee chair, Ms Gallagher, who was a delight to work with, as was the other committee member, Ms Dundas. We actually had a lot of fun working on this committee.

I am delighted to speak on this report as it gives a very deep analysis of experience and issues that impact on women in the nation's capital. Over the past decade, the percentage of women in our territory has gone up 13 per cent. This means that since 1991, the number of females from the age of birth up to and over 65 has risen to 157,118-5,000 more than the male population. Yet, according to the findings of the report, solving the problems and needs of the territory's women has not kept pace with this increase. Indeed, there is a great deal to be done.

This is particularly evident for those who are of indigenous or culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It is especially evident in the case of young women where matters of sexual and reproductive health are concerned. The committee heard that more needed to be done to reach and teach those women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It has therefore recommended an investigation into the provision of more support to community groups.

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