Wednesday 30 June 2010

Legislative Council

Estimates Committee B (McKim) - Part 1 



(Department of Premier and Cabinet)


Output group 6

Community development


6.1 Community development -


Community Development Portfolio

Mr FINCH - I am more interested in the general situation of community development before I get down to a couple of specifics.  What is the intention of the Community Development portfolio and how do you feel that issues will be investigated, our community will be investigated and then our programs actioned?


Mr McKIM - As I said, in broad terms the intent of the portfolio is to build capacity in our community to increase social inclusion and decrease social disadvantage.  The mechanisms by which this is done is through smaller offices within Community Development that have responsibility for the areas that I mentioned earlier.  But an important role that is played by the Community Development Division is that of engaging with the community with key stakeholder groups to find out what they want and what the community would like to see in this area and then allocating funding on the basis of those consultations.


Mr FINCH - Is that going to be like a two-way street?  Will there be an opportunity for people to come to Community Development to present their cases, their issues and where they feel change needs to be made?


Mr McKIM - Absolutely, and I should introduce Greg Johannes and Nick Evans.  Greg is the Deputy Secretary in the Department of Premier and Cabinet and Nick Evans heads up the Community Development Division and I am sure they will both tell you that there is regular contact from stakeholders and from community members, both into the Community Development Division, but also into my office, as minister; it is something that generates quite a lot of interest and we receive quite a feedback.


Mr FINCH - Can I hear about some of those issues that may come to Mr Evans?  Are the predominant issues being covered by those extra allocations that you mentioned?


Mr McKIM - The structure of the Community Development Division - that is, the structure of the smaller offices that support women and people with disabilities, seniors, Aboriginal Tasmanians, migrants and refugees and children and young people - has been conceived in order to address some sections in our community that may be facing potential disadvantage or that the Government has identified may need some extra assistance or some bureaucratic assistance in the way they go forward. 


I can inform the committee that each of those six units have formal adviser groups and councils which feed in, in policy terms and with advice that eventually would flow up to the minister, where appropriate, and would be actioned where appropriate.


Mr FINCH - Do you get a sense that we are covering off on the major issues of  disadvantage in our community?


Mr McKIM - I think we are covering off on a lot of the major issues of disadvantage in our community.  People, from time to time, put to me that there are other areas that we might look at.  But I am comfortable, in broad terms, that we are covering off on major areas of disadvantage.  Could I indicate that we also have a Social Inclusion Commissioner who reports directly to the Premier, David Adams, whom many committee members would know.  He also has an interest, but more broadly, in addressing social disadvantage and promoting social inclusion.


Mr FINCH - Is there a dialogue between his office and Community Development?


Mr McKIM - Yes, I have met with Professor Adams since the election and I intend to keep meeting with him.  I can inform you that, geographically, he is located alongside the Community Development Division  - and I have taken a walk around to say hello to the Community Development staff since I have become minister,.  So there is plenty of opportunity for both formal and informal interaction.


Mr FINCH - I would probably get a ruling from the Chair here.  I was wondering whether we would be able to talk about the Community Development Committee and where that might play a role in the future? 


Mr McKIM - The parliamentary committee?


Mr FINCH - Yes.


CHAIR - It does not relate to the Budget as such, unless we are talking about funding recommendations from the policy area.  So I would allow the Minister to -


Mr FINCH - No, that is quite okay, I am happy to explore that at other opportunities.