Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (2 March) . . Page.. 477..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
rather than weakening any provisions. So 162 (2) will remain, but the review has not been completed. I guess that is the final answer to the question.
MRS BURKE: My supplementary question is: did Mr Corbell bring the failure of your department to follow section 162 (2) to the attention of the cabinet, or to your attention, when you were discussing the review of the act in May/June of last year?
MS GALLAGHER: No, he did not. It was not discussed. From my recollections of the cabinet discussion around the paper I took to cabinet, it was not part of it. But, as Mr Corbell has said, and as I am increasingly finding out as we trawl back through documents-many of which you have got, Mrs Burke-they indicate that at every point that this could have been raised with us it was not. In Mr Corbell's case, when he did note on the brief that he wanted explanations around the 162 (2) failure, we were both given assurances that the matter was under hand-not specifically me in relation to 162 (2)-
Mrs Burke: In hand or under hand?
MS GALLAGHER: In hand-and that they were being dealt with; that there was nothing of concern, certainly in Mr Corbell's case. It was brought to my attention much later, but I had been briefed on the refocus strategy where I had been given no indication that there were any issues that needed to be brought to my attention; rather, that everything was going very well in family services and between family services and the OCA, and that both the OCA and the director of family services were working together on any areas of concern that remained. So, again, the report that I tabled into the review of the act did not deal with 162 (2); it dealt with other areas of concern that had been raised through the departments and merely formed part of the process of the review of the act. The actual stakeholder consultations, which have been quite extensive, with submissions from a number of organisations that either have direct relationships with the Children and Young People Act or have dealings with children who may have orders under the Children and Young People Act, have all been finalised now and all of that input, plus the commissioner's findings, plus the work that was done by the department, will go into making that legislation a much better piece of work.
MS DUNDAS: My question is to the minister for disability, Mr Wood. Minister, I understand that there is a shortage of speech therapists and occupational therapists in the ACT, which is preventing Therapy ACT from delivering the planned number of hours of therapy services. What are you doing to address this staffing shortage, and when do you expect that any strategies that you have will yield results?
MR WOOD: There has been a shortage over a period, a shortage we have been working very hard to overcome. The shortages in the areas that you mention are common around Australia, and they are not the only areas, either. Other disciplines can point to shortages in their areas. We have continuously and extensively advertised for positions, in recent times with a little success. In the last three or four months we have taken on 10 to 11 additional staff in various areas of speech pathology, occupational therapy and social work. In physiotherapy it is very difficult; we have not been able to take on any extra staff in that area.