Page 4700 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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people. The official visitors have recently raised a concern about operational lockdowns at Bimberi and the potential for this to disrupt young people’s participation in education programs at the Murrumbidgee Education and Training Centre.

Bimberi management has responded to these concerns by ensuring that, where possible, management of an operational lockdown does not interfere with access to educational services and also by undertaking recruitment to ensure that staffing levels can respond to increases in the number of young people in Bimberi and the pressures of unplanned leave. A period of low numbers in Bimberi has resulted in the depletion of the casual staffing pool and consequently the capacity of Bimberi to respond to a temporary increase in numbers. I am pleased to note that six new youth workers commenced in June and a further four are currently in their last week of training.

In relation to residential care, the official visitors did not raise any major or systemic issues and noted that they will continue to increase their profile with young people and build their relationships with staff. A number of specific matters were raised and responded to by Premier Youthworks at Narrabundah House. The official visitors also attended monthly meetings with Premier Youthworks and staff from the office of the Public Advocate, which were considered very worth while.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the official visitors for their continued dedication to providing Canberra’s most vulnerable children and young people with a voice. I am pleased to advise that Ms Hargreave’s and Ms Whetnall’s appointments as official visitors have been expended until 7 October 2018.

Official Visitor (Disability Services)—annual report 2016-17

Paper and statement by minister

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (3.43): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Official Visitor Act, pursuant to subsection 17(4)—Annual report 2016-17—Official Visitor (Disability Services).

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I am pleased to table the official visitor, disability services, annual report for 2016-17. The Official Visitor Act 2012 requires me as operational minister for the Disability Services Act 1991 to provide to the Legislative Assembly an annual report collating the information received throughout the year from the official visitors. The role of official visitors is to visit, talk with, receive and consider complaints from and exercise other functions in relation to people considered to be entitled persons under the Disability Services Act 1991. In this capacity, the official visitors are also required to report to me as the relevant minister on occasions when,

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