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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3882 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

workplace. Witnesses and submitters shared a common view that that there was a need to raise the level of resources allocated to mental health services.

The committee agreed that women and men have differing health needs, and that therefore diverse responses and solutions are required. So there is still much to be done. But I believe that, if the recommendations in this report are accepted with a true willingness to find solutions, then it will make a difference to the status of women in the ACT.

In conclusion, I would like to say again what a delight it was to work with Katy Gallagher and Roslyn Dundas in putting the report together. I think it is probably one of the most enjoyable committee experiences that I have had. I wish to also thank the secretary of the committee, David Skinner-who was absolutely an asset to this committee, and we could not have done this without you, David, thank you-research officer, Ms Lesley Wheeler, and the administrator, Ms Judy Moutia.

Finally, I want to express deep gratitude to those without whom this report would not have been possible-those who made submissions, those who gave evidence and the organisations which contributed their views and ideas. As a woman from a multicultural background, this committee process was, for me, very significant as it addressed issues affecting women of ethnic and Australian indigenous backgrounds and their ongoing welfare.

I thank the chamber.

MS DUNDAS (10:55): I too rise as a member of this committee to discuss what is an incredibly important report on the status of women in the ACT. I also would like to thank the other members of the committee-the chair, Ms Gallagher, and Mrs Cross-for the work that we were able to do together, with the support of David Skinner, our secretary. Importantly, I would also like to thank the community for embracing, supporting and participating in this inquiry. What we need now is for the community and the government to embrace, support and participate in the implementation of the recommendations of this report so that we truly can improve the status of women in the ACT.

The status of women is never an easy thing to define or measure. Just because we have six women here in this Assembly, or representation on other decision-making bodies, or even a women's words counselling service, this does not mean that everything is fine. Women have had to, and still do, struggle for recognition as valid human persons, for the right to determine the course of our own lives, for genuine respect and all that that brings with it.

So what have we discovered in the course of our deliberations over a year on the status of women? As Ms Gallagher indicated in her speech, the general status of women in the ACT is good, but there is a lot that needs to be done. In our year of deliberations we have barely scratched the surface. We could study this for years and quite possibly still be at the same level of understanding while the status of women shifts around us.

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