Page 4321 - Week 10 - Thursday, 22 September 2011

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responsibilities in this matter. Does that limitation on responsibilities also extend to correspondence directed to you on such matters?

MR BARR: No, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary question.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, why have you not replied to correspondence sent to you from an employee, and dating back to September 2010 and earlier? Is this simply wilful blindness on your part?


MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Seselja.

MR SESELJA: Minister, are you confident this matter is under control and that the staff in all your schools and colleges should feel confident that they work in a supportive and respectful workplace?

MR BARR: Yes, and I think Mr Seselja is conflating an issue with the Canberra Institute of Technology with schools and colleges.

Asylum seekers

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. What benefits will the recently announced ACT services access card provide to asylum seekers in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hargreaves for his question and his continued interest in working with our fabulous multicultural community in Canberra. The ACT Labor government has a very proud record of promoting and celebrating multicultural diversity in this city. The ACT multicultural community is indeed a diverse one and it does include some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

The government funds a range of programs and supports in place to assist the refugee community, in partnership with the commonwealth and community service providers. In my regular discussions with service providers and advocates for refugees it came to my attention some time ago that there were at times difficulties for asylum seekers and other humanitarian entrants in the ACT to access territory services. The ACT Labor government has had a longstanding commitment and policy to provide the same services available to refugees to asylum seekers, where appropriate. However, it was the case that in isolated instances frontline staff from territory agencies may have been unfamiliar with this policy and this has resulted at times in unnecessary delays in access to services.

I am pleased to say that the government has worked with our community partners to develop a solution. Earlier this month I launched the ACT services access card for use by asylum seekers to gain smoother access to a range of services. This initiative heralds an integrated approach to the provision of government services for asylum

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