Page 4483 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 30 October 2018

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played by care teams for these children and young people. The official visitors worked closely throughout the year with the ACT Together consortium partners that deliver residential care—Premier Youthworks, child and youth protection services and the Public Advocate’s office—to support children and young people in residential care.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the children and young people official visitors, Ms Whetnall and Ms Hargreaves, for their continued dedication to providing Canberra’s most vulnerable children and young people with an independent voice.

Language services policy

Paper and statement by minister

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for City Services, Minister for Community Services and Facilities, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Roads) (3.24): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

ACT Language Services Policy, dated October 2018.

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

Leave granted.

MR STEEL: Thank you for the opportunity to table the ACT language services policy in the Assembly today. Canberra offers great employment and career opportunities, stunning natural surrounds and access to world-class facilities. Our diverse population consists of people with varied experiences and perspectives, all of whom enhance the social and economic fabric of our city. We are a community that embraces and promotes opportunities to build a socially cohesive and inclusive community for all.

Language enables communication, and communication is essential to maintaining connections with friends, family and community and fostering social and economic wellbeing and cultural identity. It enables us to express our feelings, moods and ideas, share information, ask questions and of course access support and assistance.

Understanding, valuing diversity and removing language barriers are key to countering discrimination, reducing social isolation and building community cohesion and belonging. That is why the ACT government is committed to ensuring that all Canberrans who experience challenges communicating in English have the same access to programs, services and information as those who do not have such barriers. This includes our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, people from linguistically diverse communities and people who use Auslan.

The ACT language services policy provides a framework for the ACT government to address language barriers for Canberrans who communicate in a language other than English. The policy demonstrates the ACT government’s priority to continue to be client focused in service delivery and to engage in the use of interpreters when necessary so that clients can effectively access the assistance they need. Just as

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