Page 2321 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

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MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Treasurer, where does the ACT rank with regard to household levies or rates compared to other jurisdictions, as an average?

MR BARR: The ACT’s per capita taxation of $3,524 is below the average across Australia, at $3,755, and below that of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

Mr Doszpot: Rates.

MR BARR: The point that may have escaped those opposite is that rates in the ACT fund more than municipal services because our government provides municipal and state-level services. So the only comparison is the per capita levels of taxation by state and territory governments.

Children and young people—advocacy and engagement services

MS BURCH: My question is to the Minister for Children and Young People. Minister, can you outline for the Assembly the important role that advocacy and engagement services play in a step up for our kids?

DR BOURKE: I thank Ms Burch for her question and the ongoing interest in children and young people. I am pleased to talk to the Assembly today about the new advocacy and engagement services introduced as part of the step up for our kids reforms taking place in the out of home care sector. Launched in January 2015, a step up for our kids is the government’s five-year strategy to reform the out of home care system in the ACT.

A step up for our kids represents an additional $16 million investment in the future of our most vulnerable children and young people. It is about breaking the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage and keeping children safe at home. The aim of a step up for our kids is to create a system of care that delivers better outcomes for our community’s most vulnerable children and young people. It is about creating a system of care which is informed by the traumatic experiences of young people and children and which places their needs at its centre.

Through the implementation of a step up for our kids we have commissioned a range of services in partnership with community care and protection organisations to deliver a new care system which provides a long-term stable care experience for vulnerable children and young people and gives them the best possible chance at having a positive future.

The new advocacy, support and engagement services are important components of this new service system. They are crucial to how we better respond to the needs of young people and children, their families and foster and kinship carers. These services, delivered at arms-length of both government and non-government service providers, will provide independent autonomous support to those central to the care

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