Page 739 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

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MS HUNTER: Minister, in the absence of this important team peer support and early intervention program around suicide, what ACT government services are going to be in place to provide this important service that will now be absent?

MS BURCH: I thank the member for her question. Given that we are going through a tender process to actually secure services, I think it is a tad pre-emptive to say that those services will be naturally excluded. The youth and family support program has inherent in its nature an aim of making connections across vulnerable families, young people, youth at risk—the sector that I have been speaking to.

Many of the community providers who are active in tender writing at the moment recognise the value of reform across the sector. They have said that, whilst challenging, they have welcomed the opportunity to strengthen their partnerships across the sector to respond in a more focused way to community needs.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, why has the government taken the view that, in spite of at least two assurances in this place that there will be no funding cuts to these services, such a vital service as youth suicide prevention will no longer be funded and that this program does not fit within the funding guidelines.

MS BURCH: As I have also said here on a number of occasions, the quantum that the youth and family support program has remains. There is no reduction of dollars out of the two programs. The program is being tendered at the moment, and the sector is responding. As I have just said, I have had a number of conversations with providers just this week alone, and they have welcomed the opportunity to strengthen their partnerships and to rethink their service delivery alignments. They are looking forward to the opportunities in the new funding arrangements.

Bimberi Youth Justice Centre—security protocols

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, in a question earlier today it was revealed that the woodworking trainer at Bimberi was told that he would no longer be working at Bimberi due to a number of alleged breaches of security protocols. It has also been revealed that this teacher was highly regarded, so much so that he received a commendation from your colleague the Minister for Education. Minister, how do you explain this sudden fall from grace?

MS BURCH: I noted earlier that I had received correspondence and I had sought some responses to the issues raised in that. So I did not confirm anything with staff.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary question?

MR COE: Minister, does this victimisation of a witness to the inquiry undermine all the government’s commitments to witness protection, and potential victimisation?

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