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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5650

Mr OAKESHOTT (4:16 PM) —My question is in relation to one particular issue: it is a company called Aboriginal Connections Employment Services, based in South Kempsey, one of the Vinson hot spots—the top six postcodes in Australia for poverty and low-SES issues. Aboriginal Connections has just gone into liquidation. I raised previously some concerns in this transition from CDEP to universal employment schemes, and some of the reaction from the community is that this liquidation is a direct result of some of those changes. I therefore ask for either the minister or her departmental officials to provide a brief on what is happening with that company. It has a large list of local small businesses, both contractors and subcontractors, that are exposed with this company going into liquidation, and therefore I would ask for any support possible to make sure that any damage to businesses within the local community of the Macleay is minimised. But, as well, there are the Closing the Gap implications associated with what was a very high profile and what seemed to be a very successful Indigenous employment company tipping over and going into liquidation.

The second point I would like to make picks up on this issue and the move on income management from racial discrimination across to what you could call constitutional discrimination in that it is only in the Northern Territory at the moment. What is on the COAG reform agenda? Is income management for the whole of Australia part of the COAG reform? Has it been talked about yet or is it coming? People in New South Wales would be very interested to know what the future direction is in regard to income management and welfare generally.