Page 333 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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reap significant benefits, and every dollar of that benefit will go back into the community sector.

MR HARGREAVES: Supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, what has been the feedback from the community sector on the ACT government’s announcements that it will fully fund the Fair Work Australia decision?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the supplementary question. The feedback from the community sector and other stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive. The decision and the government’s response were welcomed by the ACT Council of Social Service. Indeed, the ACTCOSS director, Roslyn Dundas, joined me at their premises when we made the announcement. Ms Dundas welcomed the government’s commitment both on the day and in subsequent media appearances, and even on Twitter. Ms Dundas has said: “This investment means we will have workers into the future to support our ageing population, to support those in the ACT that are in need of support. The decision by the ACT government to work with the community sector on workforce sustainability issues in the ACT is vital to making sure that we have a workforce into the future.”

I am pleased to see that Ms Hunter also welcomed the government’s announcement a week or so ago. In fact, everyone has welcomed our response—everyone, that is, except those opposite. I was a bit disappointed to hear Mr Smyth’s comments on 2CC the day after the decision when he said that the Canberra Liberals, if elected, may not fully fund the decision—they may walk away from the ACT Labor government’s commitment to the community sector. I have no doubt that those in the community sector who are listening to Mr Smyth and those in our community who rely on those services would have been equally disturbed. At a time when the community sector was celebrating a positive announcement from the government, one that provided the sector with peace of mind, it is disappointing that the Canberra Liberals are so quick to cast doubt on the sector’s future in the ACT.

Children and young people—care and protection

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. Minister, the Productivity Commission’s report on government services reveals a decline in per capita expenditure on care and protection services in the ACT. The expenditure has fallen from $147.30 in 2008-09 to $126.90 in 2010-11, which is well below the national average expenditure of $194. Minister, why is your government’s per capita expenditure on care and protection services declining?

MS BURCH: I think I had a similar question about care and protection expenditure earlier in the week, and I pointed out there, and I will point out again for the benefit of Mrs Dunne, that care and protection and out-of-home care services have increased. The ROGS provide a certain set of data. Also in there, if you were to look at the tables that reference out-of-home care, you will see that there is an increase. So your

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