Page 3090 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 16 September 2015

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Mr Coe interjecting—


Community services—west Belconnen

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. Minister, you recently launched the commitment to community under the better services initiative. Can you inform the Assembly what this initiative means for the west Belconnen community and the potential for its future application across our city.

MS BERRY: I thank Ms Porter for the question. Ms Porter has a long record, probably a lifelong record, of service to Canberra’s community service network, and I thank her for her interest in this initiative. I have spoken in the Assembly before about this community-driven initiative led by service providers in west Belconnen to improve the way that they operate and work together. Under the local services network, the commitment to community has been developed by local services, businesses and residents to guide the network and reach out to new participants.

On that note, I was very pleased to hear this week that at the launch that I attended along with Dr Chris Bourke and Mr Rattenbury there was a local busker who was also interested. He has since joined up to be part of the network as part of our youth working group.

There has been a long tradition in Canberra of local people contributing to the social fabric of their communities—in Belconnen and across the city. The commitment to community puts the call out to local community and service providers for feedback around what is working well and what can be done differently. It also provides a platform for local businesses and residents to make their own commitment to the local community and share their experiences with working groups which are in place.

We have already seen early signs of success, with local business leaders coming on board to provide employment and training for local young people, which is a key priority for the community. We have also seen services rally around the needs of our children, with planning underway to hold a kids carnival that will bring together important children’s services, supports and childhood development advice in a fun and engaging way.

For older people, there is a commitment to ensure visibility and accessibility. Making sure information is clear on services, transport and community events is important for a community where older people want to be. These tangible activities are vital steps in an innovative project which is designed to respond to the specific needs of a local community and to ensure that our services are designed to meet their needs in the best possible way.

The west Belconnen local services network is proving that working with communities is the way of the future and that collectively we can do so much more together than we can on our own. In these early stages, we can see the potential to establish future

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