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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2537..


MR CORNWELL (continuing):

community health facility and, I repeat, given that people suffering from dementia are easily disturbed and distressed by changes to routine and exposure to long trips.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Cornwell. Much of the concern for people who utilise those services at Dickson and Narrabundah has been generated by the way you have beaten up the story, Mr Cornwell. Be that as it may-

Mr Cornwell: Just answer the question, will you?

MR STANHOPE: You have beaten it up outrageously, Greg.

Mr Smyth: It is your decision; you are closing the services.

MR STANHOPE: No decision has been made. As I explained, consideration is being given to the most effective and efficient provision of respite-type services at Dickson and Narrabundah. This is aged care services relating to respite-a social-type service not a medical service. There is no element of medical care provided in the particular service we are talking about. It is a service that allows respite, in a traditional sense, for people caring for older people, perhaps with dementia. I am not quite sure, Mr Cornwell, about the extent to which those services have as clients people with dementia. I do not know about that.

Mr Humphries: Are you going to answer the question, Jon, in the course of this?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, I am. What I said, as Mr Cornwell knows, is that no decision has been made. We were investigating other possible methods of service delivery. As you know, Mr Cornwell, the funding for those services is the Commonwealth funding.

The suggestion that I made at the time was that, if a decision was made that Community Care could better focus on the provision of other services and allow the community sector-the NGO sector-which more traditionally provides respite services, to provide that particular respite service, then it would be put to tender by the Commonwealth. The ACT government, through Community Care, would approach the Commonwealth and say, "The service we provide at Dickson and Narrabundah is provided with your funds. We believe it could be more efficiently provided by the community sector, and we would like to talk to you about tendering out that service for the residents at Dickson and Narrabundah that we currently care for." Travelling and location issues would, of course, be fundamental to the identity of the successful tenderer, if that is the decision we make.

MR CORNWELL: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, thank you for that response. Could you tell me, though, why you are perhaps looking-because you have qualified that now-at closing Narrabundah and Dickson day care respite services when a review is currently being conducted into them? Would it not have been better to wait until after the review?

MR STANHOPE: That is what we are doing. I thought I had explained that, Mr Cornwell. We are looking at these issues and a range of issues. We are looking at how to provide this service most effectively and efficiently. We are not going to abandon anybody. As a government and as a community, we take our responsibility to our older


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