Page 3967 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 20 September 2017

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MR BARR: The government made an allocation of $1.4 million through the budget to ensure that there is more support for refugees and new migrants looking to enter the workforce. This provision will be used to expand English language training programs and to establish a jobs brokerage service. We know that we can do more than just welcome new arrivals. We know that we can support them to thrive once they are here.

Community discussions have certainly highlighted English proficiency amongst new Canberrans from overseas as a particular challenge in relation to social inclusion and employment. Having difficulty conversing in English is undoubtedly a barrier to people settling successfully and finding a good job. Overcoming language barriers is only one part of the challenge. There are further challenges in identifying the work opportunities, and this budget initiative is particularly focused on establishing a dedicated job broker to engage with multicultural communities. The broker will help match people with jobs that suit their skills and qualifications and assist employers in working with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Through these initiatives and a range of others that the government has put in place, we are working very hard to ensure that new arrivals to Canberra can easily get a job, can contribute to our workforce and become even more active members of our community.

MS CODY: Chief Minister, what additional support is the government providing to the LGBTIQ community to support and promote inclusion during the postal survey?

MR BARR: I have said it before and I will say it again: this survey process is unnecessary and it is extremely distressing for many members of the community. It is damaging to LGBTIQ Australians and Canberrans but it also impacts on their families and their friends. What we have seen locally and nationally is a significant increase in demand for support services.

ReachOut, which provides support services to young people and their families, has seen a 20 per cent increase in demand due to the survey. The LGBTIQ phone counselling service QLife has also seen a similar increase in demand. This is expected to increase over the course of the survey period.

So, to assist the community, the ACT government has redirected $105,000 worth of funding to the LGBTIQ Community Consortium here in Canberra to provide additional counselling and support services. This includes the development of support material and resources; additional individual counselling sessions using capability from the AIDS Action Council, Relationships Australia and professional practitioners; a series of tailored group workshops and activities; and professional education sessions tailored to groups and organisations.

In addition, through in-kind contributions, funding has been provided from the Office for LGBTIQ Affairs to promote a more inclusive Canberra, including support for increased community engagement on one of the major LGBTIQ community festival days, held at the end of October, Fair Day on Saturday, 28 October.

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