Page 1501 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 4 May 2016

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2015 development application for the shopping centre was refused by the Planning and Land Authority due to a range of planning issues, including the suitability of the design for the site. An application to reconsider the decision was subsequently lodged and was again refused earlier this year as the revised information did not substantially improve the development. So before we can commence we need to ensure that those developments are approved.

Government funding priorities

Debate resumed.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Multicultural and Youth Affairs, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (3.11): I take the opportunity to speak again on this motion and this time on Ms Burch’s amendment to the motion. I particularly want to reflect on the government’s decision not to provide some certainty around the national partnership agreement, which provides the most important support for homelessness services here in the ACT and across the country.

Members will know that on 23 March last year, after considerable angst from the community and this government and questions about whether there was going to be a national partnership agreement on homelessness services in the ACT, the Minister for Social Services announced that the commonwealth government would extend the national partnership agreement on homelessness for two years to 30 June 2017. Unfortunately in the budget announcement last night no certainty was provided by the federal Liberal Party around that agreement that it would be continued beyond June 2017 to provide increased amounts of money for such important homelessness services in the ACT such as organisations like Toora Women Inc, which provides accommodation and support services for women who experience domestic violence, and Barnardos, which provides supported accommodation through the our place program for young people undertaking education.

When I spoke earlier on the motion, I talked about how important it was and how the government would continue to provide support for low income Canberrans and young people who will be affected, unfortunately, by the announcement of the federal government of a real work for the dole scheme, as they have described it. It will mean more young people will be pushed into homelessness. Fortunately, here in the ACT, through the national partnership agreement—at least until 2017—we are able to provide those additional supports to young people through programs like our place and organisations like Barnardos.

Here in the ACT, through the national partnership agreement, we have been able to fund vital programs such as St Vincent de Paul’s street to home program, which provides support for rough sleepers in the ACT. It has been such a successful program that the ACT has the lowest number of rough sleepers in the country. We also have in the ACT organisations like Woden Community Service providing the supportive tenancy service, which will continue under the national partnership agreement until at least 2017.

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