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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 3 August 2017) . . Page.. 2495 ..

Leave of absence

Motion (by Ms Berry) agreed to:

That leave of absence for today’s sitting be granted to Ms Fitzharris to attend interstate ministerial meetings, and Mr Pettersson on a personal matter.

Single parents

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM SPEAKER: I have received letters from Ms Cheyne, Mrs Kikkert, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Orr, Mr Parton, Mr Steel and Mr Wall proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Mr Steel be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of supporting single parents in the Canberra community.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (3.26): I have proposed this matter of public importance so that we can recognise the importance of supporting single parents in the Canberra community. Families come in all shapes and forms in the ACT, and our government recognises, and values, the full range of families, including modern families, that exist in our community.

According to the 2016 census there were 14,129 one-parent families in the ACT, of which 79 per cent, or 11,280 people, were women and 2,851 people were men. We know from research that the family life of single parents and their children is likely to be more complex and presents some challenges, though there are a range of single-parent families in the ACT and their experiences may differ considerably, as well as their access to family supports.

There are a range of ways in which the ACT Government is supporting single parents, whether through access to information or through child development services, early childhood education and care, education for parents, employment, housing and community services. The ACT government provides information about the services and supports available to single-parent families. Though the Office for Women, the ACT government provides a free service to women, empowering them and their families by helping them to access quality, relevant and timely information about choices that impact on their quality of life. This service provides information on available options, respects the right of women to select the options that meet their individual needs and assists women to link in to the options that they select.

The ACT government also provides ParentLink to increase parents’ confidence and skills by supporting and linking them with a network of information, ideas and community services. There are also a range of resources available through our fantastic commonwealth-funded raising children network and the single mum Australia website.

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