Page 5306 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2011

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Leave granted.

MS BURCH: I present for the information of members a corrigendum to the Community Services Directorate 2010-11 annual report that I tabled in September this year. As part of this year’s annual report, the directorate provided territorial financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2011. The directorate has identified an omission in the notes to and forming part of the financial statements that was caused during typesetting. I have tabled the correct pages as part of the corrigendum for members’ information.

Targeted assistance

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Mr Speaker has received letters from Dr Bourke, Ms Bresnan, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Mr Hargreaves, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Dr Bourke be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of targeted assistance in the ACT.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (3.55): As a community, we Canberrans have weathered the global financial storms of recent years better than just about any other community on the planet. But there is no question that some in our community have not been as fortunate as the rest of us. Cost of living pressures, coming from a number of different directions, have put strain on the household budgets of some Canberra households.

Some households are finding that they no longer have the flexibility to absorb unexpected pressures—when the price of petrol jumps, for example, when seasonal food prices are affected by bad weather, or when illness means unbudgeted medical costs.

For Labor, identifying and creatively responding to the pressures on vulnerable households has always been a priority. It is why we have in place a whole array of concessions and support mechanisms that kick in to help the most vulnerable households with such things as their utility bills or rental bonds. I will speak more about these programs in a moment.

Labor has never been a party that believes in set-and-forget policy making. We know that, increasingly, no community can be insulated from what goes on in the wider world. Storms that begin on the other side of the world can end up wreaking havoc in our suburbs and battering our local economy.

That is why, as a government, ACT Labor has worked with the community, with the groups that are closest to the ground and closest to the pulse, to deal with new pressures as they arise and to keep an eye out for looming pressures that might today just appear to be storm clouds on someone else’s horizon.

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