Page 5019 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 26 October 2011

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MS BURCH: I am getting to the question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: No, you are not. You will come to the question or you will sit down.

MS BURCH: I am coming to the question, Mr Speaker. In response to this, yes, I am aware of the Victorian Ombudsman’s report. I think anyone who was listening to the radio this morning or on days previous to this would be aware of it. Yes, I am aware of it and I am watching it, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne has a supplementary.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, are you doing anything other than just watching what is going on? Do you consider that there are lessons to be learned from the Victorian Ombudsman’s report that may serve to highlight matters for improvement in the care and protection system in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Dunne for her question. There are slight differences between the Victorian system and our system. We do not have targets. We respond to reports where there is a statutory obligation to respond. Of reports being received, 13 per cent met the statutory obligation or the statutory threshold for investigation. That is what we have gone on to do. As far as what lessons you can learn is concerned, across jurisdictions we could all learn from various aspects of any service provision in a human service environment.

MR HARGREAVES: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, did the Liberal minister responsible for the Ombudsman’s comments resign from office?

MS BURCH: No, she did not resign or was even asked to resign, I understand.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary.

MR SESELJA: Minister, what similarities have you observed between the Victorian Ombudsman’s report and the report of the ACT Public Advocate?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Seselja for his question. The similarities I think just go to the complexity and the difficulty of managing a human service such as care and protection. It highlights that this is an environment that is difficult and that we struggle with recruiting adequate staff members. There are pressures. The concern reports are increasing not only here but across other jurisdictions. I think the similarities are that this is a system that is complex, that is hard. We are dealing with vulnerable families and children and young people that are at risk and a system that does what it can to respond.

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