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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 September 2010) . . Page.. 4379 ..

Mr Doszpot has suggested that the government document the consultation process, and I appreciate this suggestion, as I also would like confirmation through those documents that the ACT government is consulting with groups that represent episodic disability. The Greens will be supporting the amendments put forward by the Liberals.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (8.45): As minister for disability, I am well aware of how essential it is for the government to provide support to people with disabilities to find and retain employment, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this motion today.

The Chief Minister has already spoken in detail on the positive work that this government is currently undertaking to further support the needs of people with a disability in regard to employment and to respond to the issues raised in the making diversity work study released last year. I know from our own discussions that disability employment is a priority for the Chief Minister. I am looking forward to seeing the results of the review of the ACT public service disability employment strategy and supporting the action plan, as part of a broader review of the ACT public service equity and diversity framework.

However, I would note that much of what Ms Bresnan is calling for in this motion is already underway, through this and related work. While I acknowledge that we as a government can do better when it comes to employment levels of people with a disability in the ACT, the government has already implemented a range of initiatives to increase the social and economic contribution of people with a disability in the ACT. These include an employment framework, which includes strategies and actions for recruitment and retention for people with a disability in the ACT public service, a pilot traineeship program offering nine identified positions for 12 months employment in the ACT public service, and a nationally recognised qualification in business administration for people with an intellectual disability.

However, rather than focus on this and the other work being done by the Chief Minister’s Department, as detailed by Mr Stanhope just a little while ago, I would like to spend a few minutes outlining some of the excellent work that is done through the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services. Across my department there are a number of significant pieces of work which continue to improve the presence and participation of people with a disability in the workforce and to assist them to develop opportunities for self-employment. These include the recruitment of a human resource officer, with a particular focus on recruitment, retention and workplace support for people with a disability; the placement of trainees in the department; and the establishment of a champions group to ensure that the department retains its focus on a diverse workforce. We are also refreshing the access to government strategy, which will deliver a new improved access guide, awareness training for staff by people with a disability and a disability consultation register in the next 12 months, along with a renewed emphasis on disability awareness across the ACT public service.

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