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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3268..


MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Can the minister tell us the reason why the ACT missed out on these funds in the first place? Can the minister tell the Assembly whether he has been able to establish, as he said in July that he would, the level of need in the ACT for psycho-geriatric care? How many ACT residents are currently being cared for outside the territory because there is nowhere here for them to be cared for?

MR MOORE: We have had a couple of cases. Just this morning I went through a letter I received some time ago from somebody whose husband had been moved to Goulburn. You will be aware of a significant case that was in the media. These are the two cases of this type of psycho-geriatric care being required in the ACT-people who require very specialist care. There are only a couple of them a year. They go through a stage-usually between three and six months-when they are particularly difficult to handle. It is a normal part of a specific problem, and they need to spend some time in a facility that can handle their issues. Goulburn is able to provide that facility. It does not seem appropriate to build a facility of that type at the moment for the level of access that we would need in the ACT.

However, there have been negotiations in the ACT, and we are able to provide more beds for people in this sort of circumstance-other than the specific circumstance of the six months or so when they need a very specialist style of care to deal with their particular issues. If members want to discuss those issues, I am happy to do so individually. But, because somebody was named in the media, I would prefer not to do so now.

I still believe it is not appropriate for us to put expenditure of funds into building a facility like that. If we use our money there, we will not be able to use it to meet the greater need and the growing need of people who are ageing.

As to the reason why we did not get the money in the first place, it was Mrs Bishop's view-which I disagree with-that the ACT, as part of the region within New South Wales, could get psycho-geriatric advice from New South Wales. That was the reason. I think I interpret her view fairly closely. We disagreed with that, but she was not prepared to change her mind.

Belconnen Remand Centre

MS TUCKER: My question is to the minister for corrective services. It regards conditions and practices at Belconnen Remand Centre. I remind the minister that I sent a letter some time ago about practices and their relationship with the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. I have not had an answer to that yet.

At lunchtime today I had a call regarding a very worrying situation at the Belconnen Remand Centre. The brother-in-law of a man who has been in the Remand Centre for three weeks is very concerned that the remanded man's mental health, medical needs and legal needs require urgent attention. Since the court hearing yesterday he has been trying to find out exactly what he needs to do so that he can arrange it.

On repeated attempts to phone since then, he has not been able to get through to the man. He has been told by staff, who have all been polite, that due to a lack of facilities and/or staff resources he cannot talk to the man by phone, because there has been a lockdown or


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