Page 2794 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005
budget to extend the program to Tuggeranong in this current year. I am more than hopeful that, as we continue to develop the programs and the philosophy and the model of care that is delivered through our child and family centres, we will be able to take the next step and look at the extension of the child and family centre methodology and program to Belconnen.
It is a fantastic new, innovative and, I believe, leading method of delivery of support to families and children. It is a classic case of a government that is committed to early intervention, of finding a model that allows us to intervene very early in the lives of children and to assist and support families at a stage when perhaps there are issues that are developing within a family that lead to breakdown, stress or some level of dysfunction which then impacts on children and which is then part of the cycle that we know leads to so many undesirable outcomes for children, in particular, and families. That is at the heart of the philosophy supporting the child and family centre model. It has been developed in the ACT. It is innovative: nowhere else in Australia is the model of care and service delivery that we have initiated through the child and family centres pursued.
The government is also providing funding for a range of other programs aimed at supporting the needs of our young people. The kids at play program, which provides opportunities for children to be involved in active play, has been expanded and pre-school hours for eligible 4-year-olds has been increased from 10.5 hours to 12 hours. Through progressing the Canberra plan goals, the government is working with the community to build upon what the community has emphasised to us, in all our consultations, as important, and what we as Canberrans know is important. One thing I can say about this government is that we are very much part of the community that we seek to serve. We promote social justice principles and principles of access, equity and participation, with particular emphasis, as I have maintained through this particular presentation, on inclusion and social cohesion.
The Canberra plan recognises the importance of social cohesion and the need to build stronger communities. Over the past year and a half, Canberra and its community have celebrated significant events, in addition to the major celebration that we have just enjoyed, including Christmas and New Year in the city in 2004. Also this year tens of thousands of Canberrans joined together to celebrate both Australia Day and Canberra’s birthday party, the celebrate in the park event, which included a wide range of events for all ages. I acknowledge the fantastic sponsorship we had from ACTTAB. I believe the celebrate in the park event in March revitalised a day of significant community celebration that many of us remember from times past but which fell on some hard times. We have now reinvigorated and reinvented our Canberra birthday celebration and it is something I look forward to again next year.
Similarly, the Canberra gold awards, which I introduced this year as part of our Canberra celebrations, recognise Canberra citizens who have been making valuable contributions to our community for 50 years. We do sometimes underestimate that contribution that is made simply by the day-to-day activity of citizens dedicated to their community—whether it be through sporting organisations or the P&C or simply building and establishing suburbs. There is fantastic community building that goes on and 50 years of that sort of community building warrants specific and special recognition particularly in a young city such as ours. It was fantastic and wonderful to see so many Canberrans who