Page 3102 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 22 August 2017

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Applications for this program close on 27 August. I encourage all members to raise awareness of these grants with their local communities.

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—rehabilitation facility

MR MILLIGAN: My question is to Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, in the June 2017 quarterly consolidated financial report there is a capital injection of $963,000 for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential alcohol and other drugs rehab facility. What are the construction defects and non-compliance issues mentioned in this report?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Milligan for the question. I will take it on notice.

MR MILLIGAN: Why were these matters—or matters you are unaware of now—not dealt with during the original construction of the site?

MS FITZHARRIS: I will take that on notice. It would not be unusual to have issues raised over the course of a construction project but I will take it on notice.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, how much additional money will be spent on the property before it is opened, and why have these defects not been covered by rectification provisions in the contract?

MS FITZHARRIS: I look forward to making an update very soon on operations and services getting underway at the bush healing farm. Certainly I am aware that the last piece of construction for that facility was not on the facility itself but on the access road to the facility.

Children and young people—foster care

MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Children and Youth. According to its website, ACT Together is currently “urgently seeking” foster carers and the Canberra Times recently reported, “Barnardos ACT says at least 80 more foster carers are needed in Canberra.” Minister, what are you doing to address the shortage of foster carers in the ACT?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Kikkert for her question. ACT Together does have the responsibility for recruiting new foster carers. As Mrs Kikkert has said, they are actively out there advertising for foster carers across the broad range of the community. They have set an ambitious target of recruiting 80 new foster carers this year.

I would encourage everyone to think about, and to talk to your communities about, the benefits of becoming a foster carer. The foster carers I have spoken to have certainly considered that to be a very important contribution that they have made to the community but also something that is very fulfilling for themselves.

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