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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 November 2009) . . Page.. 5183 ..

In particular, the commonwealth government has stated that delivery of the youth link program will cease at the end of December and will be replaced by a retendered service that does not have a specific focus on young people with a disability.

The funding currently provided by the ACT government to the Gungahlin Regional Community Service is not under threat. We understand that 29 families are supported at any one time to attend the warehouse program, and Disabilities ACT is working with the community service to identify options that will ensure continuation of existing programs as well as options for families to access other services.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Minister, what are you doing to convince or to lobby the commonwealth government about reinstating this funding to these programs that have supported so many young disabled people in the ACT for many years?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. It is commonwealth funding that will be withdrawn, and that may have some impact on us, but we are working with the regional service and the families to ensure that services are continued. It is my understanding that the commonwealth is going through a retender process, but that the retender program will not be including young people with a disability. I am not aware of the detail of any conversation that my department is having, but I am happy to find out if we are and to bring that back to you.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, in your answer to the first question, you said there was no ACT funding at risk in this. Why does the letter that was sent to parents in relation to this say that there is a loss of current ACT government education and training non-government organisation programs for children and young people with a disability of approximately $70,000, which will come into effect on 31 December, and that the ACT Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services Disability ACT funding scheme is due to expire on 30 June 2010?

MS BURCH: Mrs Dunne, without having the letter in front of me, I will go back to the department, get the letter and bring back an explanation.

MS BRESNAN: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, will you be expecting families who rely on these services for their disabled young people to simply manage on their own without access to after-school vacation programs?

MS BURCH: I would imagine that the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services, as I have said, will work with the families to look at other options to ensure that support structures are in place for them and their families.

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