Page 4721 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 10 November 2009

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The ACT government remains committed to social justice and the empowerment and inclusion of the most vulnerable in our community. The government has supported the disability community by improving services provided for Canberrans with a disability and their families. Over the past 12 months, we have promoted and supported a number of initiatives, such as the policy framework for children and young people with a disability and their families, and also the future directions: towards challenge 2014 policy framework to improve outcomes and opportunities for Canberrans who have a disability. The ACT government has committed $400,000 over four years to fund the ACT companion card. I note that this wonderful initiative was launched in September of this year.

On multicultural affairs, this government has been using outcomes from the consultations with the multicultural community, the 2008 multicultural summit and the ACT community in general to finalise the ACT multicultural strategy for 2010-13, which will be released by the end of this year. In addition to countless events showcasing the cultural heritage and creative talent of our local culturally diverse communities, the ACT government has also supported the sector through initiatives such as the work experience and support program, the multicultural grants program, the community language grants program and the multicultural radio grants program.

In the vital area of ageing, the ACT Labor government has actively worked to develop a whole-of-government strategic plan that will promote positive ageing through supporting healthy and active ageing initiatives, reducing social isolation and addressing elder abuse. This will be outlined in the soon-to-be-released ACT strategic plan for positive ageing. The government has appointed a new ministerial advisory council, we have supported the strategic review of the elder abuse prevention program, and we have approved a new contract to extend ACT government major sponsorship of the retirement and lifestyle expo event for a further three years.

In conclusion, we can see that that the ACT Labor government has hit the ground running. We have not taken our responsibilities lightly. We are delivering on our promises, honouring our commitments and looking forward to and planning for the future. We are repaying the faith placed in us by the people of the ACT, and we intend to do so well into the future.

It has been said that issues of disability, housing, ageing and community services, children, young people and cultural diversity are, indeed, light-load issues. I do not consider them to be light, and I will commit 100 per cent to this. But looking forward and not only backwards, I glimpse into the coming weeks and I look forward to working with the children’s services sector on the commonwealth national quality agenda for early childhood education and care. I look forward to delivering, across the depth of the complex portfolios I have, for the people of the ACT.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.23 to 2 pm.

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