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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 September 2015) . . Page.. 3091 ..

sites in years ahead. I look forward to further discussions with the community around these possibilities. What we know about this initial site is that while supporting community-driven action can take time, it is possible. We all have great pride in our communities and it is great to see this being translated into a collective response for those people who are doing it tough.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, how important are local champions to the success of the local services network?

MS BERRY: Local champions are at the heart of the local services network in west Belconnen. We have had fantastic leadership from local service providers like UnitingCare Kippax and the Belconnen Community Services right from the beginning. We have also seen an increase in the number of partner organisations by 30 since the network commenced. Network partners are committed to achieving real and sustained change, leading the way for others to come on board as well.

I have been heartened to hear from local business partners that not only are they contributing through the formal channels of the network but they are also benefitting from what the network has created. Samantha Kourtis, who owns the Charnwood Capital Chemist, was telling me just the other day that through her participation she has been able to put young people in touch with services they did not know about before.

I will share one of the quotes from a local resident who has volunteered to be part of the network:

It is easy to say “that’s not my problem” about issues in our community and then complaint that things don’t work. I got involved with the Employment Pathways for Young People Working Group because I care about my community. Young people are our future and my voice counts—every voice counts and needs to be heard.

We continue to be impressed by the willingness of people to give their time and their skills to this network. The collaborative nature of the project and the contribution of local champions are some of its greatest strengths.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, are community service organisations in other parts of Canberra expressing interest in the local services network and better services initiatives?

MS BERRY: Yes, they are, and it has been really good to see that interest in these innovative approaches is growing in other parts of the ACT. Recently, Woden Community Service held a roundtable on the need for coordinated services, highlighting the importance of understanding local community needs in order to delivery locally relevant services. Some of these needs were also discussed at the community services roundtable held by the cabinet at Woden library two weeks ago.

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