Page 4309 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2005

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Gaming Machine Act, pursuant to section 60F—Community contributions made by gaming machine licensees—Eighth report by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission—1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005, dated 17 October 2005.

SAAP multilateral agreement

Paper and statement by minister

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.14): For the information of members, I present

Supported Accommodation Assistance Program—Multilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth, States and Territories

I seek leave to make a brief statement.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: It is my pleasure to table supported accommodation assistance program V multilateral agreement between the Australian and state and territory governments. The supported accommodation assistance program is the national response to one of Australia’s most challenging social problems—homelessness. Introduced in 1985, the program is governed by commonwealth legislation, the Supported Accommodation Assistance Act 1994. The preamble to this SAAP act provides a clear vision of the intent of the program. It states:

The Commonwealth Government should work cooperatively with State and Territory governments to ensure that people who are homeless are given opportunities to redress their circumstances and that their universal human rights are not prejudiced by the manner in which services are provided to them.

After 20 years of SAAP, this vision still rings true. It remains a challenge for governments to ensure that the human rights of people experiencing homelessness are upheld and that the service responses to homelessness are effective and coordinated.

The signing of the SAAP V agreement, which will run from 2005 to 2010, is an indication of our collective commitment to SAAP. The ACT government is committed to providing $29.133 million to SAAP over the next five years, with the Australian government committing a similar amount.

The agreement, as with the previous four agreements, includes strategic priorities that aim to consolidate and build on the strengths of SAAP over the past 20 years. These priorities are: to increase involvement in early intervention and prevention strategies; to provide better assistance to people with a number of support needs; and to provide an ongoing assistance to ensure stability for clients post-crisis. I am pleased to note that the ACT already undertakes a great deal of service delivery that is the focus of these strategic priorities. Indeed, the ACT’s commitment to achieving these objectives allowed us to be at the forefront of negotiating the national strategic priorities for SAAP V.

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