Page 1112 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2012

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MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, were the hardworking, independent public servants of the ACT public service compromised by these requests in this email?

MS GALLAGHER: I have no idea. I would now like to call on the opposition to table the email. In fact, I will happily move a motion that seeks for them to do just that, or Mr Seselja can table the email now. That would assist, I think, with the questions, particularly if I am going to get more questions on this today. I think it would benefit all members in this place if that document was produced and tabled.


MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Community Services and relates to the recent reforms in the youth housing and homelessness sector. Minister, were you made aware of concerns repeatedly raised during the consultation period in 2011 by many specialist youth housing workers regarding the new cluster house model of crisis accommodation and group house supported accommodation? If so, what concerns were you made aware of?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Hunter for her interest in youth homelessness. This again has been an area of reform and recent procurement and it is my understanding that the new arrangements will be in place towards the end of this month, early next month. This was a broad-ranging discussion that had discussion papers and many a meeting across the community sector. I am not aware of any particular or specific concerns raised other than there were some providers that as change comes into place were just a little bit anxious about what this would look like and were seeking assurance that there would be no reduction in the resource allocated to this and no reductions in beds. And that has certainly been the case: there have been no reductions in the dollars or the number of beds.

The emergency accommodation network has been awarded to a well-regarded organisation here. It is my understanding that there are clusters on the north side and on the south side—I think there are three houses in each cluster, on the north and the south—and they are quite close together. They are certainly provided with 24/7 staff on site and there are strong connections between the two.

If there are concerns that Ms Hunter has, I am quite happy to have a conversation about them and explore them, but nothing in particular has been raised with me.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, what research and evidence motivated this move to new models and led to the disregarding of the views of many specialist youth housing workers who did raise concerns about these models?

MS BURCH: I do not have the list of research in front of me but I am sure it would still be available on the CSD website, as would be the discussion paper and the references to that. I refute in a way that statement that opinions were discarded. Opinions are not discarded. They all come into the mix about how do we structure this new program.

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