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Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Page: 1751

Mr ZAPPIA (5:00 PM) —In concluding my remarks in respect of the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of Racial Discrimination Act) Bill 2009 can I say that I know the minister is committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and I commend her for the work she has already undertaken to date in respect of doing just that. But I simply point out to the minister that, from my discussions with members of the Aboriginal community and the concerns that they have expressed to me, this is a measure that should be closely monitored—and I am sure it will be—and regularly evaluated so as to ensure that there are not any unforeseen negative consequences. It is one of those measures that I am sure we will all learn from in years to come. To some extent I expect there will be a degree of trial and error as you go with it. For those reasons I think it is one of those measures that needs to be closely monitored. Having said all that, as I said earlier on in my speech on this matter, I believe, given that it is being undertaken in conjunction with all the steps associated with closing the gap, it is a measure that is worth supporting, and I commend the bill to the House.