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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6440

Ms LIVERMORE (Capricornia) (18:12): I have a question to the minister about a very positive initiative that is taking place in my electorate, but I will just take a couple of minutes to bring the House up to date on where things are at in Rockhampton in regard to its inclusion—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Dr Leigh ): There not being a quorum present, the Federation Chamber must temporarily suspend.

Sitting suspended from 18:12 to 18:20

The House having been counted and a quorum being present—

Ms LIVERMORE: Before the suspension of the Federation Chamber I was bringing the House up to date on the range of initiatives that are taking place in Rockhampton at the moment as a result of the measures introduced in last year's budget under the Better Futures, Local Solutions package. Rockhampton was identified as one of 10 places around Australia to be the location for this range of initiatives, and we really are seeing differences on the ground in the way that services in our community are working together, very focused on shared results and shared outcomes, and looking at ways in which they can collaborate very effectively to achieve some of those outcomes for local people.

A lot of this is being led by the Government Action Leader Debbie Sear, who is a former manager of Centrelink in Rockhampton and is very well placed to play a role in joining up our government services and making sure that they are all working together to achieve the common goals of supporting people, addressing their needs and, very importantly, getting them ready to take up opportunities in the workplace. Debbie is assisted by Karen Gerrard, who is also doing a terrific job as the Community Action Leader, playing a similar role in identifying what community organisations are working in this space and how they can work together more collaboratively and effectively to meet some of the challenges. A lot of that work is coming together through the Local Advisory Group, which has the job of identifying some projects to be funded under the Local Solutions Fund. There is $25 million allocated to be shared amongst 10 locations around Australia. We are seeing some great results already in the way that government and non-government organisations are working together.

The measures take on a few different dimensions. There is support for teenage parents and support for jobless families, and income management and more targeted efforts to assist disadvantaged people and those who have been out of work for a long time to achieve a start in the workplace. While some of those measures, such as support for teenage parents and income management, are taking up a lot of the headlines and attention in the local media, one of the things that is actually at the heart of these place based initiatives, and which is something of a pilot for the rest of Australia, is the move towards case coordination within Centrelink. Case coordination is going on day in, day out inside our Centrelink offices and it is really driving some of the change in the way that the government interacts with people coming for payments and help. It allows Centrelink staff to be much more proactive in drawing together the services that might assist people, in a holistic way, to get into the workplace or meet other needs they might have.

My question to the minister is about the pilot program moving towards case coordination as the basis for the work of the Department of Human Services in helping people. Could the minister please update the chamber on the Case Coordination program trial?