Page 3154 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013
feasibility of a new community hub for Woden and Weston Creek and building more men’s sheds in Canberra. The sheds provide an opportunity to address a range of issues for men as they get older, such as health and physical and emotional wellbeing. Gungahlin and Woden appear to be areas where men’s sheds could be established.
In a broader sense, we are looking at the arrangements under which community organisations occupy government-owned buildings. These buildings provide accommodation to a broad range of organisations and are a critical part of enabling our valuable community sector organisations to minimise the cost of rent.
As with the community sector reform, we are also looking at what improvements can be made to enhance the capacity of community organisations to deliver services to the community whilst recognising the need to appropriately maintain the buildings they occupy. That need, of course, requires a revenue stream. I commend my part of the Community Services appropriation to the Assembly.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for Ageing) (4.46): I will make a few remarks relating to the parts of the portfolio for which I have responsibility. I would particularly like to speak about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Ageing, because for each of these areas the budget supports new directions and some ongoing good work.
When it comes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, one priority area of service delivery of the government is in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans. We continue to seek out new ways to recognise the unique role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans and to address areas of disadvantage. The investment contained in this budget is mirrored by structural changes that have seen the creation of an Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs that aims to provide a better, more joined-up approach to service delivery.
The input of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body has helped guide not only the office but also budget investment in this area. By receiving valuable advice from the elected body, the ACT government has been able to put in place additional services and programs under the 2013 ACT budget. This has included the community helping Aboriginal Australians to negotiate choices leading to employment and success, or more conveniently, the CHANCES program, that was originally piloted in 2012 and in this year’s budget has been allocated $880,000 over the next four years.
CHANCES provides nationally accredited training to members of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, particularly those who are deemed to be at risk of homelessness, reoffending or facing long-term unemployment. For those in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community who want to continue their studies but find the costs involved prohibitive, the government is providing a scholarship program. This will assist them with support that may include transport, child care, materials, equipment, meals allowance, textbooks and other learning aids.