Page 3822 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013
MS BURCH: I did answer it, and over their interjections I was talking about the accountability, the contract management and the internal requirements of governance of an independent organisation.
Women—Women’s Information and Referral Centre
MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Women. Minister, last week you announced that after 35 years of operation the Women’s Information and Referral Centre in the city will be closed and services like, for example, “Getting back to work—for women” will be provided by alternative providers. Which alternative providers will deliver which services?
MS BURCH: I thank Mrs Jones for her question. I think you are referring to WiRC, the Women’s Information and Referral Centre. It has had a shopfront, indeed, in Civic for the last 35 years. We have made the decision that we will not renew the lease at that facility in Civic, and that we will better utilise our infrastructure that we have across Canberra. You would appreciate, no doubt, Mrs Jones, that over the 35 years certainly we have invested in the social capital infrastructure across Canberra through the child and family centres. Many women have said to me that they would certainly prefer to have services closer to where they live.
I think you made mention of return to work. I will assume you are referring to the return to work grants. I will take that as a “perhaps”. The return to work grants will be maintained.
Mrs Jones: Can I clarify?
MS BURCH: Yes.
MADAM SPEAKER: Yes, with the indulgence of the house.
Mrs Jones: My understanding is that there is a program run through the centre called “Getting back to work—for women”. I am not sure whether it is delivered simply by the grants process or whether there is an actual course that is on offer at the centre. But my understanding was that it was potentially a course at the centre.
MS BURCH: There are two things. The return to work grants will continue. They have been in place for a number of years and they will continue to be in place and administered through the directorate. If you look at the six-month calendar, there are a range of programs on offer at the Civic centre, and also in the child and family centres, and indeed in other organisations across Canberra. Those programs are facilitated through WiRC and private entities. Even a number of private program deliverers will take an opportunity to register a program on the calendar. At times, though, if there is no interest in those programs, they are not delivered.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.