Page 1720 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 3 May 2005

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Schools are essential community facilities and we need to continue to invest in maintaining our asset base of around $605 million in school infrastructure. The government has allocated $8.3 million over four years to honour its election commitment to improve school infrastructure. The funding will increase refurbishment projects across a number of government schools and is in addition to the $11 million to be spent in 2005-06 on capital upgrades in government schools. Planning for the Gungahlin East primary and preschool will also begin, with funding of $1.4 million provided to finalise all planning to the construction stage.

In relation to vocational education and training, this budget allocates an additional $3 million over two years to meet the increasing level of skills shortage in the ACT. This is in addition to the $3.1 million provided in the second appropriation in 2004-05 and the $2 million increase in the previous budget, bringing the additional funding to $14.1 million over a four-year period.

Children and family

Mr Speaker, the government again continues its strong commitment to children, youth and families in this year’s budget. Additional new funding provides a substantial increase to the annual budget of the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support.

The budget supports a range of strategic and operational initiatives that will be progressed during 2005-06 to assist the reform of the protection system for children, young people and their carers. This includes increasing the focus on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and their families with $2.9 million over four years to consolidate and expand the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander unit.

The budget also provides $1.5 million over four years to establish a Commissioner for Children and Young People, responsible for promoting and protecting the interests of children and young people in the ACT. The government continues to respond to the increased number and cost of individual support packages to care for and protect children and young people in care, with $13 million being provided over four years. Significantly, funding of $40 million over three years is provided for the much needed upgrade of the Quamby Youth Detention Facility and work will commence this calendar year.

Finally, Mr Speaker, the establishment of a child and family centre in Gungahlin is another primary example of the government’s commitment to support Canberra’s children and focus on early childhood development. The centre is a hub for developmental programs, health and education services, and parenting and family support services. The child and family centre program will be extended to Tuggeranong in 2005-06.


Mr Speaker, yet again the government has provided substantial resources for disability and welfare services through programs to assist people with disabilities, their families and carers. The government has listened and responded to people with disabilities, their

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