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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3075 ..

phone conversation confirmed, however, Carers ACT do not actually offer support to grandparents providing informal care to children. When I asked where such carers should turn, I was told it should be to the very organisation whose funding has recently been cut. Minister, why are you referring grandparent carers who need support to an organisation that admits it cannot help them?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Kikkert for the question. In providing that advice, I did in fact double-check that information to make sure that it was correct. If Mrs Kikkert’s advice is that it is not correct, I will go back and check again and come back to the Assembly.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, what instructions have you given those who are currently developing the ACT carers strategy regarding the need to provide support to grandparents providing informal care to children?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Kikkert for the supplementary question. The ACT carers strategy has taken an inclusive approach. Members may be aware that in previous carers strategies, both locally and at the national level, carers of children, whether foster or kinship carers, have not been included in the definition of carers. We have taken a broad and inclusive approach to the definition of carers and that has been reflected in the composition of the carers voice panel and in the work that has been conducted. I will have a further look at how engaged kinship carers, who are not caring through the statutory system, have been in that process. But we are certainly taking, in relation to the carers strategy, a very broad approach to the definition of carers.

MR STEEL: Minister, what has been the impact on carers of the Liberal Party’s abolition of the grandparent childcare benefit?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Steel for the supplementary. As in so many cases, cuts made by the federal Liberal government have had a negative impact on the community and those who need support from government the most.

Molonglo Valley—shopping facilities

MR HANSON: Madam Speaker, my question is to Planning and Land Management and relates to shopping centres in the Molonglo region. Minister, as you are aware, residents are deeply concerned about the lack of any shopping centres in this region, particularly the Coombs local shopping centre. While acknowledging the difficulties faced, the fact is that the people of this region still have no shopping facilities at all. I wrote to you on 5 July but have not received a response, so I ask you directly in the chamber now: what steps has your directorate investigated to assist with this shopping centre being completed, and when will it open?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Hanson for his question. I also share the concerns of the residents of Molonglo in regard to the shopping centre. The timing of the opening of the Coombs commercial centre is at this stage outside the control of the ACT government and rests fully with the centre’s owner. Under the crown lease the

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