Page 866 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 18 March 2015

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The tutorial support scheme supports schools in their implementation of programs designed to enhance student engagement with learning, to improve literacy and numeracy and to provide extension and/or enrichment activities that support students. Then we have allocated $25,000 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior secondary students interested in pursuing a career in health.

We have further strengthened the role of vocational education and training with the commencement of the new skilled capital training initiative. This initiative has been designed with comprehensive supports available to assist the training of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, youth at risk, students identifying as having a disability and the long-term unemployed.

Another element that Dr Bourke touched on as being an indicator of an inclusive community is the value of the arts. Here in the ACT this government has implemented the community cultural inclusion program that aims to enhance access to and participation in arts and cultural activities across our community. The community inclusion program provides services based at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre and the Belconnen Arts Centre. The program officers work as creative producers and support activities through helping to develop ideas and project plans, sourcing relevant funding and finding artistic expertise to match potential projects.

One project, for example, is based in your area, Madam Deputy Speaker, at the Belconnen Arts Centre. We understand that you are a great advocate for this program, which is called Ignite. It is a pathway arts program offering arts development for artists who are living with a disability. A recent activity up there also was “Move—speak—act”. I will close by quoting a comment by one of the participants:

Participating in this program—

That is “Move—speak—act” in 2014—

every week has provided us with much more than just acting classes. It has also provided weekly social contact, the opportunity to make friends in a non-threatening environment, help to build skills that have been transferred to other aspects in our lives and opportunities to build mastery and self-esteem in a safe environment and to escape—a time out from the stresses of everyday life.

I thank Dr Bourke for bringing this matter to us. It is absolutely right that we make sure all Canberrans have a place, regardless of our ability, our disability, regardless of our postcode, regardless of our country of birth and regardless absolutely of gender or whether we want to hold hands with a partner of the same sex or the opposite sex. We are all familiar with the adage that we are all born equal. I think that motions such as this make sure that we all live as equals as well.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (5.23): I rise to add my thanks for and to support Dr Bourke’s motion celebrating Canberra’s social inclusiveness and this Labor government’s social inclusion agenda.

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