Page 2311 - Week 06 - Friday, 27 June 2008

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happened with a great deal of frequency from members of the opposition. I think that is a very sad reflection on their part.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (9.23): I am speaking on behalf of Minister Gallagher, who is unable to be in the Assembly this evening. This budget sees the government continue to build on the foundations provided in previous years in working with people with disabilities, families, carers and service providers to develop and implement priorities under Challenge 2014 and “Future directions—a policy framework for the ACT 2004-2008”.

Last year, the government allocated $15.75 million over four years to address known unmet need in the territory. This funding has been fully allocated on a priority basis. In 2007-08, funding has been allocated through a combination of individual allocations advertised through an open round and funding to service providers. Priorities for funding were mature carers, school leavers and people whose individual supports have broken down.

Assistance provided includes 60 people receiving individual support, 20 new accommodation places, 16 community support places, 15,000 hours of community access, 1,100 hours of flexible respite, and an additional 750 respite bed nights. Output targets have also been increased, with accommodation support seeing growth of 14 per cent over the period 2003 to 2009; community access seeing growth of 367 per cent over the same period; centre-based respite seeing growth of 11 per cent over the same period; flexible respite seeing growth of 14 per cent over the period; and community support seeing growth of 55 per cent over the period 2004 to 2009.

The government is also committed to building a continuum of quality services that meet the needs of ACT families, from universal provision to targeted and tertiary interventions.

The Tuggeranong and Gungahlin child and family centres are continuing to build on the range of early intervention and prevention services they operate, with a focus on children aged one to eight years and their families. The success of these centres is demonstrated by their very high utilisation rates, excellent client feedback and many positive stories of families overcoming disadvantage.

The government has also recognised the growing needs of families in the Belconnen area, especially vulnerable families and children, by providing funding in this year’s budget of $250,000 for forward design work for a third child and family centre. The centres are pivotal to the government’s commitment to early intervention and prevention and are a very effective way of engaging with vulnerable and at-risk families.

Reforms to the care and protection system are also providing better ways to respond to the growing demand for services to support vulnerable families. For example, the integrated family support project is a new model of service delivery which sees families, government and community working together in partnership to improve outcomes for children at risk of harm and neglect by providing an alternative referral pathway to statutory processes.

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