Page 3158 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 24 August 2005

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providing $200,000 to community organisations and projects that improve the recognition and support of Canberra’s carers.

Community organisations can apply for grants of up to $60,000 for innovative projects through the program. I would urge those opposite to listen, if they purport to represent constituents—albeit not very many of them. The government is seeking to fund two types of projects. The first one is a carer support project to improve the capacity, skills, knowledge and networks of carers and former carers. These projects might include advice and counselling, written resources, carer peer support groups and social and recreational opportunities. The second is strategic projects to inform the future development of innovative and responsive supports for carers. These projects will include professional development and a research project to investigate appropriate and responsive respite models for people, and their families, who are affected by mental health and/or alcohol or other drug issues.

The 2005-06 carer recognition grants program will be advertised in the Canberra Times on Saturday, 27 August 2005. An information session for interested applicants will be held on Wednesday, 7 September and applications close on Friday, 7 October 2005. I encourage interested community organisations to participate in programs to further enhance the recognition and support of the territory’s estimated 43,000 carers—and the word carer covers a wide range. I would at this point like to take a moment to congratulate the Youth Coalition of the ACT for its support of young carers in this town. We often forget—when we think of carers, we think of older people looking after disabled young people or we think of older people looking after increasingly ageing disabled offspring—that there are many young kids in this town, some as young as 10, providing support and care for a parent or parents or siblings who have a disability.

I urge those opposite, where they know of people in these categories, to bring this carer recognition grants program to their attention, because we are trying to reach out to the carers in our community and support them. I think this is a very sensitive initiative by the Stanhope government and it needs bipartisan support.

Legal action

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, on 2CC on Monday 22 August you said that the appeal against the coroner would not cost the ACT taxpayer anything as it was all covered by insurance. Why did you make that claim when the former head of your department told the estimates committee that $8.3 million had been spent on legal fees, which included the appeals up to 30 April, and that approximately $5 million of that total cost was covered by insurance?

MR STANHOPE: In relation to the comment I made on 2CC on Monday morning, I must say that I had another very significant, most interesting, entertaining and learned interview this morning with Mr Jeffreys. Mr Jeffreys, who is not known for his soft, sympathetic support for this side of politics, asked me if I agreed with his assessment or instinct that the Canberra Times had turned against me. It is interesting, is not it, when you get a commentator with Mr Jeffreys’s particular view of the world suggesting that there are others out there who are having a go at me! I demurred from answering that, of course, suggesting that I had noticed no such thing.

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