Page 4117 - Week 13 - Thursday, 31 October 2013
MS BERRY: Chief Minister, could you outline to the Assembly the arboretum membership program or fee and how this will support the ongoing development of the National Arboretum?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Berry for the question. There is a new membership program that people can sign up to if they are minded. The process is a bit clunky. You cannot do it online; you have to print the form and do it, but we are fixing that. It is $50 an individual and $75 a family. All of that money stays with the arboretum, and you also get a handy parking permit so you do not have to pay for parking, which I know is a bugbear of Mr Smyth’s when I have met him up there in the car park. So you can get your own sticker and you do not have to worry about paying a parking fee for the whole year.
DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. Could the Minister for Community Services please advise the Assembly on the human services blueprint announcement he made this morning.
MR BARR: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. I was pleased to announce today that the government is developing a human services blueprint and I was also pleased to release a public discussion paper for comment.
Canberrans are well supported by a committed human services system that is available to help people at different stages of their lives. A few examples that demonstrate the breadth of human services available in the territory are after-school and vacation care programs for young people with a disability; homework clubs at primary schools; the provision of affordable, secure accommodation in public housing; targeted assistance and concession programs to help offset cost-of-living pressures for households; interest-free loans for women on low incomes to establish or further develop a business through the microcredit program; and walking groups, business mentoring and other programs to support the social wellbeing and participation of ACT seniors.
Our human services system has developed over many years in response to community needs. However, we must recognise that there are challenges for the future, with increased demand for services and a growing and ageing population. The introduction of the national disability insurance scheme will also bring about significant change to the sector, with the introduction of choice and control for people with a disability. This gives us an opportunity to look at the entire human services system to make sure that our community is getting the best value and the best services now and into the future.
The blueprint will initially focus on those core human services delivered or funded by the Community Services Directorate, but will also consider the interface with other important human services such as health, education, justice and the range of services provided at the commonwealth level such as Centrelink and Medicare. We will be looking at how to develop a more joined up and responsive system where people can