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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 March 2017) . . Page.. 785 ..

A particular focus in the first few months of the area within government has been to prepare a business case for further funding in this year’s budget to support a range of activities that will be undertaken over the next period. The office will have engagement with a number of key government engagement processes over the next six to 12 months, with a particular focus on areas of health, mental health, education, community services and disability, amongst others.

The office will have some input into the rollout of the safe schools program, as well as supporting the other priorities that have been identified by the ministerial advisory council. It will include things like aged-care provision, for example. The office will also advise me in my role representing the ACT both on the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors and at COAG fora.

MS LE COUTEUR: Can you advise how many staff there are in the unit and when they started?

MR BARR: There are currently, I think, 1.5 FTEs in the unit. They have been seconded from other areas. That will be enhanced through an allocation in this year’s budget.

But the purpose of the unit also is to be able to draw project teams together around particular government priorities. For example, in the future of education discussion paper, I would anticipate that the office would want to work closely with the Education Directorate on ensuring that the needs of LGBTI students were taken into account as part of that piece of policy work.

Equally, in areas like mental health and aged care we would want to draw resources across government to support policy development. This is an example, I think, of the one-government approach that we have here in the territory.

MR STEEL: Can the Chief Minister advise on wider actions the ACT government is taking to support our LGBTIQ community?

MR BARR: The government has taken a number of very important symbolic and practical steps in recent times to demonstrate our support for LGBTI Canberrans. Most recently—and I know it has drawn the interest of many in this place and in the broader community—in the week that that included Valentine’s Day we proudly displayed rainbow flags in a number of locations across the city. This was in support of marriage equality, as well as a very important symbolic recognition of Canberra as Australia’s most LGBTI-friendly city.

I will continue to provide support both in practical terms and through grants programs for organisations like A Gender Agenda, the AIDS Action Council and the SpringOUT festival to ensure that both community services, and festivals and activities, celebrate the true diversity of community life in Canberra.

On this Harmony Day it is a very good opportunity to reflect upon the strength of our community and its inclusiveness. This government has led the way over more than a

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