Page 5447 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 8 December 2009

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Beryl refuge

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Women. It was reported in the Canberra Times of 25 November that the Beryl refuge was forced to send away two-thirds of the women seeking some shelter from domestic violence. The manager disclosed that demand was so high that they were unable to offer accommodation and 150 women had to be referred to other agencies. Can the minister assure the Assembly that there is adequate service provision so that all women seeking help to escape domestic violence will be able to access accommodation when they are in crisis?

MS BURCH: I thank the member for the question. We do have a commitment to ensure that women are accommodated, are provided emergency accommodation. In fact, in the short term we will put on emergency accommodation to cover the Christmas period where women and children are leaving domestic violence.

In response to the particular centre raised in the question and the Canberra Times, I will take that on notice, Ms Hunter, and bring an answer back to you.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Minister, I understand about the extra provision put on at Christmas, but I am really seeking answers about the other weeks during the year and asking you to assure the Assembly that there will be adequate services to accommodate any woman who is seeking shelter from domestic violence. And, if the service is already stretched, will the government be making extra provision at the Christmas period, as you have said, but also beyond the Christmas period for the other weeks of the year?

MS BURCH: This government is committed to ensuring that women are accommodated. I will get the details of the numbers, the nights and everything available. I will go to each centre. I will ask the department to provide information back. I am happy to give you a briefing, and I will give a commitment to ensuring that the women in this town are safe and cared for.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?

MS BRESNAN: Could the minister inform the Assembly what is the current level of unmet demand and how much funding would be required to meet this demand?

MS BURCH: I am happy to provide a detailed response to that. I will take it on notice.

ACT youth plan

MR COE: My question is to the minister for young people. Minister, yesterday you launched the ACT youth plan 2009-14. It has been reported that you admitted you had not read the report and in fact asked that the admission not be made public through the media. This morning in the media you denied this was the case and in fact blamed the media for its coverage of the issue. Minister, when did you first read the report?

MS BURCH: I have indeed read the report.

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