Page 686 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2006

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audiences in the order of over 500. The gallery opened five exhibitions during the quarter, including an inspiring exhibition entitled Galong: Paradise of the Ryans. The Lanyon Homestead celebrated its 25th anniversary as a house museum with a range of activities, including the traditional eating of Christmas dinner, candlelight Christmas carols and a picnic.

During the quarter the Bell Shakespeare Company presented Measure for Measure, the final production of the 2005 subscription season at the Canberra Theatre Centre. In October the Canberra Philharmonic Society presented Many Happy Returns, a showcase concert highlighting the society’s association with the Canberra theatre over 40 years. Mr Speaker, the corporation has been busy providing activities for all Canberrans. I am pleased to table the report.

Supported accommodation assistance program

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): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Supported Accommodation Assistance Program—Bilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth and the ACT, dated January 2006

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: Today it is my pleasure to table the supported accommodation assistance program SAAP V bilateral agreement between the Australian and the ACT governments. The bilateral agreement forms part of the ongoing national commitment between all states and territories to respond to homelessness. This agreement was reached through the enactment of the SAAP V multilateral agreement, which I tabled in the assembly in November last year.

Responding to homelessness presents huge challenges for any government because it is a complex issue. You just do not solve homelessness by giving people a house. We can see from looking at the range of issues that contribute to people’s homelessness or impact on their ability to maintain stable and secure housing that it is not that simple. For many homelessness occurs at the intersection of other social issues, such as mental illness, drug and alcohol misuse, long-term unemployment and poverty. Domestic violence is the single largest cause of homelessness for women and children on any night in the ACT.

You just cannot put a roof over people’s heads and expect any of these issues to go away. To respond to homelessness we must look at people as a whole, work with their strengths, build their resilience and, over time, support them to resolve issues that cause their homelessness. This can take time and requires a long-term commitment and investment.

Through the SAAP bilateral agreement the ACT is committed to providing $29.133 million to SAAP over the next five years. The Australian government will

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