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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4116..

Therapy services for students with a disability

Report of the review-government response

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services) (4.07): For the information of members, I present the following report:

Report of the Review of Therapy Services for Students with a Disability-Government response, dated December 2002.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased today to table in the Assembly the government's response to the report on the review of therapy services for students with a disability. Our response marks both an end and a beginning for the way in which we deliver therapy services in the ACT. It is the end of an exhaustive process of inquiry, assessment, consultation and recommendation and it is the beginning of an improved level of service delivery to those in our community who have unique needs.

As background, the previous government agreed that a review of therapy services for students with a disability would be undertaken to address recommendations made in the report into educational services for students with a disability released in 1999. Last year the successful tenderers, Jill Cameron and Associates, were engaged to conduct the review.

In February 2002 the Chief Minister released their report and requested that the disability reform group provide a formal response to the findings. This was delivered in June and substantially informed the government's response to the review, so you can see that there has been a very long process here. In general, the government accepts the recommendations of the review of therapy services for students with a disability. I believe that it is pleasing that the government's views on the recommendations largely accord with those of the disability reform group.

A number of key issues are highlighted in the report, and these are currently being addressed by government. Specifically, the review recommends that there be a single government service provider of therapy services. Now that the therapy services provided by CHADS and Disability ACT reside in the new Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services, a project has commenced to consider the formation of a single therapy service in the new department.

This new service would provide a seamless therapy for students with a disability and would address many of the service delivery and planning issues raised during the consultation process. The new service would also meet the review recommendation that the current therapy services continue to be provided predominantly by the government. Indeed, the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services has already undertaken public consultation on combining therapy programs from the two agencies into the one service. I am advised that informal feedback from the DRG is supportive of

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