Page 5031 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 26 October 2011

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Each year the National Multicultural Festival provides practical hands-on experience to over 100 volunteers, many from Canberra’s multicultural community. All volunteers train in occupational health and safety and may gain experience in administration, customer service, public speaking, stage management, event organisation and logistics.

I would also like to highlight that next month I will be holding an employment roundtable bringing together employers from the retail, hospitality and community sectors to discuss linkages and opportunities for Canberra’s migrant community, particularly for those members from new or emerging communities.

I would like to make a point of mentioning that this initiative was proposed to me by one of this year’s WES graduates, Mr Jok Thuch—a lovely man who undertook some work experience in my office this year. So it is an idea that has come directly out of the community that will benefit the community.

I would also just like to say that what our migrant and refugee communities need most of all when it comes to finding work is practical assistance and solid employment outcomes. That is the focus of this government. I look forward to the roundtable and discussing how we can build on the good work that is currently underway.

Ms Gallagher: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Rostered ministers question time

Minister for Ageing

Seniors—cost of living

MR SMYTH: The COTA ACT lifestyle survey 2008 stated, “What is abundantly clear is that older people in Canberra are being squeezed by both rising costs and poor returns. They are making substantive changes in relation to both maintenance and consumption. Many of these adjustments appear to have undesirable personal or social consequences.” Minister, why has the ACT government continued to place cost of living pressure on older people resulting in seniors making adjustments with undesirable personal or social consequences?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Smyth for his question but I need to say that I refute the premise of his question. This is a government that is committed to supporting older Canberrans. I find it interesting that Mr Smyth is asking this question on the same day that he has brought a motion to this place that seeks to delay access to aged-care places for his own local constituents.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary.

MR SMYTH: Minister, why has the government ignored the impact of rapidly rising rates and electricity bills on senior Canberrans?

MS BURCH: This government has responded to the cost of living pressures experienced by seniors. We have signed the national partnership agreement on certain concessions for

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