Page 3595 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 13 September 2017

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election commitments to Canberrans with a disability, including providing $2.2 million to strengthen the Office for Disability, for oversight of disability issues, including the implementation of the NDIS; $1.8 million to establish the ACT senior practitioner to provide oversight of the use of restrictive practices, maximising vulnerable Canberrans’ quality of life and safeguarding their rights; $200,000 in funding for new disability access grants to deliver training, increase awareness and provide infrastructure modifications to increase opportunities for Canberrans with a disability to participate in community and voluntary groups; $4.6 million to provide transport for ACT public school students with a disability; and $3 million to further support students with a disability to continue to have equitable access and participation in ACT public schools. And it includes the development of a disability justice strategy to ensure that people with disability are treated equally before the law and in the justice system.

Our community expects and deserves services to support and celebrate multicultural Canberra, which we will again be talking about shortly. We encourage stronger social cohesion through events like the National Multicultural Festival, multicultural community broadcasters and community participation programs. In the 2017-18 budget, the ACT government will do more with new initiatives, including $1.4 million for refugees, asylum seekers and other new migrants to improve their English language skills through expanding English language programs and, in particular, supporting them to enter the workforce with the assistance of a job brokerage service.

Our community expects and deserves culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans. In this budget, the government is supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities with a range of targeted services in health, early childhood development and parenting, including $12 million for a new Aboriginal health facility, partnered with Winnunga Nimmityjah, to deliver culturally appropriate, safe and holistic health care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans. It is also providing over $500,000 to continue the growing healthy families program in 2017-18 and $100,000 over four years in new seed funding grants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled organisations.

This budget delivered record funding into child and youth protection and out of home care services to ensure that we can meet the vigilance of Canberrans and continue to address the challenge of family and domestic violence in our community.

Put simply, as the Chief Minister has said and as Mr Steel has said, the ACT’s AAA credit rating allows this government to responsibly borrow money at the best rate for big investments in infrastructure, health and education, to respond to challenges such as the GFC or Mr Fluffy, and to deliver these critical services for vulnerable, disadvantaged and disconnected Canberrans so that we can build a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive Canberra for the future.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (10.55), in reply: It is hard for the opposition to argue with the Standard & Poor’s report. What is revealing and remarkable is not just the credit rating itself and the benefits that this provides us in terms of access to reliable

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