Page 997 - Week 03 - Thursday, 23 March 2017

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We have been seeking consistently to reassure SHOUT member organisations and associates that the government will continue to get the support they need. This is not helped by members of the opposition constantly making claims that SHOUT has either closed or is about to close and that these member organisations have been abandoned by the government. It is simply not true. We have refuted it on many occasions and I continue to do so.

MR PARTON: Will the ACT government consider waiving SHOUT’s annual $40,000 rent charge?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Parton for his supplementary question. Of course, all of the details of the new funding arrangements are the subject of ongoing discussion between SHOUT, a range of community organisations, the government and the SHOUT member organisations. These are going to be detailed discussions that need to take into account a range of factors. All I can do at this point is assure SHOUT member organisations that we are absolutely committed to making sure they continue to get the support they need.

SHOUT—government support

MS LAWDER: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Children and Youth. I will quote from an article in the Canberra Times where former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope asked:

The ACT government, with a budget of $5 billion, can’t fund $120,000 to support children with brain injuries, women with breast cancer, children with cancer?

Minister, how did you arrive at this decision about SHOUT given the total resources at your disposal?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I am really not sure that I can add to my previous answers in relation to this question.

MS LAWDER: Minister, why can’t your government continue support for SHOUT, given, as former Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said, “every government in Canberra since the 1980s has, for starkly obvious reasons, regarded the funding of SHOUT as a priority”?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: It appears that I will have to repeat what I have previously said on a number of occasions. The government remains committed to working with SHOUT, with other relevant community organisations and with SHOUT members to ensure that SHOUT members continue to be supported and that the transition to any new funding arrangements is as smooth as it can possibly be.

MS LEE: Minister, what exactly is the ACT government going to do, given that you have given numerous reassurances that you have given assurances to the member

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