Page 4662 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (11.44): I am pleased to provide this update on achievements in my portfolio over the last year. As members are aware, I have a varied portfolio that I believe delivers some of the government’s most important work across the community. Our aim is to ensure that all Canberrans have access to the services and supports they need to fulfil their potential and make a valued contribution to our community. The degree to which a community supports and embraces its vulnerable citizens is a measure of the quality and compassion of that community. In the ACT we want those amongst us who experience disability to be supported and to have the opportunity to live life to the full.

The national disability insurance scheme offers such a promise, but any major change also brings challenges. As the first jurisdiction to transition to the NDIS, the ACT has had its fair share of rollout challenges following this once-in-a-generation reform. We have made significant progress in addressing the issues the NDIS has presented in regard to advocating on behalf of individuals and identifying systemic concerns such as pricing for short-term accommodation, the potential for market failure in support for people with high and complex needs and the need to ensure that planners are better able to understand psychosocial disability.

The ACT government has formed strong working relationships with the National Disability Insurance Agency at both the local and national levels. We have been effective advocates in providing advice about what works and what does not and how we can improve delivery. The government continues to work with the NDIA to keep the community informed by facilitating workshops and forums for users, service providers and advocates. We will continue to work with them to implement changes and to look for continuous improvement opportunities. We are fully committed to the NDIS and have worked hard to ensure that the needs of our community are considered as we experience the full impact of the scheme.

In 2016 we established the ACT office for disability to support the ACT government and community in getting the most from the NDIS, as well as to inform broader engagement with people with disability. This government has provided and will continue to provide further support to make Canberra as inclusive as possible. There are a number of grant programs which help us do this, including the new disability inclusion grants program, for which applications close next week. For children, young people and families, the government has continued to implement its major sector reforms as well as introduce other changes to ensure that our families and young people thrive.

The most significant of our reforms is A step up for our kids. The five-year strategy has involved a fundamental shift in the provision of services, including the commissioning of family preservation and out of home care services. In the past 12 months work has continued on improving and embedding the governance model for A step up for our kids, with the aim of ensuring that effective and appropriate mechanisms are in place to guide the management and delivery of services.

I would like to thank our service delivery partners, Uniting, the ACT Together consortium, Australian Red Cross, Carers ACT and CREATE. Their commitment to

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