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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 1329 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

service. It was a good service that looked after about 60 men and 100 children during its operation.

I went to the celebration of the first year's operation by the new service. I was very disappointed-indeed, quite angry and even disgusted-that Lone Fathers lost that service and that the government did not look at the matter properly. There would have been no problems with them doing that but they did not. Nevertheless, I was happy to see the new service operating well, providing a good service to its clients.

My one criticism would be that it is not a 24-hour-a-day service. People have difficulty accessing it after hours. It certainly has a different philosophy from that of the service run by the Lone Fathers. The former service was a 24-hour-a-day service. It had a live-in caretaker. That was a real plus. It was a different type of service to the current one. I think it would be very desirable in the current climate if we had two services, one on the south side, which because of the inequities of what happened to the Lone Fathers I would suggest they should run, and the one run-and it seems run well-by the current service in Belconnen. This would take up the unmet need. It would provide two different models. That would be useful for people accessing the service.

Because the report lacks specific recommendations on homeless men and children, I would urge the minister and the government to take action. Whilst it is good that service for men and children, the first of its type, continues, albeit in a slightly different form in the ACT, there is a real need for something similar on the south side. I would certainly commend that idea to the government. I still hear of men with children who for various reasons are unable to access the current service. There is a need for another service.

I have already paid tribute to Barry Williams for his vision in pressing the then government for a service. I was very proud to be able to offer the first service in Australia. I also pay tribute to Barry Williams for being named volunteer of the year for the work he has done for people who are disadvantaged. He has been tireless in his efforts on behalf of people such as lone fathers. He has assisted in the development of the law, especially family law. He brings enthusiasm and dedication to his efforts on behalf of his clients and his constituency. I congratulate him, as I hope the Assembly does, on winning this most prestigious award. He thoroughly deserves it. I know that he is going to keep up the good work he does on behalf of our community.

MR HARGREAVES (11.17): The committee was determined not to get into whether the contract was issued to Lone Fathers appropriately or not. That was the wish of the Assembly. It was made very clear. The committee deliberately stayed away from that issue. I was a bit saddened that it was raised again in the chamber, but I was pleased to see that the government's response also recognised the Assembly's wish.

When committees present reports and the government responds to them, it is important that we do something with the information. All too often we hear a lot of rhetoric in this place, and nothing much happens. The reports are left to collect dust. I sometimes wonder why that it is. One reason among a myriad of reasons could be that this is a house full of good intentions. Ministers are committed to change and committed to going forward. I know that our minister for housing is committed to equitable, affordable, appropriate housing for our various demographic groups. However, every now and again

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