Page 949 - Week 03 - Thursday, 19 March 2015

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opportunities for greater collaboration in the delivery of services. There are possibilities for shared practices around the assessment and referral of clients to reduce duplication, maximise resources and, importantly, get the best outcomes for people.

Our community sector leaders have said that the sector is excited by the establishment of this portfolio. I am also told that the sector believes that an inclusive and equitable community now and into the future should be recognised as being more than just partisan politics. There is an appreciation of the connection between the portfolio and the reforms that are underway, including changing the way that human services are developed and delivered in the ACT human services blueprint, reducing regulatory red tape in the community sector and the transition to the NDIS.

The community services sector sees the new portfolio as an opportunity to take a more cohesive approach to responding to violence against women and children, homelessness and greater inclusion of people experiencing isolation and exclusion.

Looking ahead in the community and housing sectors, we will be well placed to address these challenges and we will continue to engage and work with the sectors.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, which key policy initiatives will contribute to inclusion and equality in our community?

MS BERRY: Services are how we help people overcome barriers that we have not removed or cannot remove. We are committed to delivering them in a way that meets the needs of the community and builds pride in the life of our city. This includes better services, the human services blueprint. The framework of the human services blueprint is changing the way human services are developed and delivered. The three key initiatives under the better services brand reflect the principles of social inclusion and equality. These are the local services network in west Belconnen, the strengthening families program and the one human services gateway.

The national disability strategy 2010-20 is supported by the new ACT disability inclusion statement, to unite people with disability, families, government, community and business in working towards a more inclusive and equal society.

In housing and homelessness, social housing continues to have a critical role in creating pathways out of long-term disadvantage and towards social inclusion. Almost 25,000 housing tenants are now in a better position to improve their social and economic participation.

In community harmony, our city is a place where multiculturalism and harmony coexist. However, we understand that issues can arise when people in specific groups are excluded and marginalised. Government is working hard with community leaders to ensure that Canberrans continue to live in a safe and socially cohesive community. This is supported by programs that engage young people to engage in pro-social behaviours.

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