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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 427..


Gungahlin Drive

Upon notice No 5, private members business, relating to Gungahlin Drive and the Australian Institute of Sport, being called on and the member failing to move the motion, the Speaker advised that it would be withdrawn from the notice paper, pursuant to standing order 128.

Health and community services-complaints system

MS DUNDAS (4.53): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) recognises the importance of an independent, fair and efficient complaints system for health and community services;

(2) believes that the accountability of the Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner should be enhanced in order to ensure that the methods used in the processing of complaints are of the highest quality;

(3) believes that the Community and Health Rights Advisory Council should have the power to review the Commissioner's actions in cases where the providers or users of services believe that complaints have not been managed properly; and

  1. requests that the Government work in a timely manner with the Community and Health Rights Advisory Council and the Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner to achieve these aims.

The intention of this motion is to urge the government to move forward on the very important issue of community and health complaint systems. Specifically, the motion puts forward the view that the Community and Health Rights Advisory Council should have the power to review the actions of the Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner and directs the government to work with both of these bodies to bring this about.

I understand that a fair amount of work has already been done on this issue and that all relevant bodies are supportive of the idea of greater accountability for the commissioner. It is therefore important not to lose momentum, especially as the need for a review function has been recognised and discussed for many years. I am sure that other members here share my belief that the commissioner's role is important and that the work he does is incredibly valuable.

This motion is not about criticising the commissioner but about introducing measures to help the commissioner improve the processes used in investigating complaints. Over the last three months my office has received representations about problems in the investigation of complaints by the commissioner. I understand that the offices of other members have also received such representations. I am concerned that under the current regime there is no clearly identifiable process for people who have experienced such problems to achieve recognition of their grievances.

A particularly important area for accountability and review is the processes used by the commissioner in investigating complaints. Where complainants or service providers believe that complaints have not been investigated fairly and thoroughly, there should be mechanisms for them to pursue these concerns.


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