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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (13 May) . . Page.. 1910..


the Nolan Gallery? May I say that I will lead a very effective revolt against any suggestion that the Nolan collection should be relocated to reside in any other Canberra asset.

Our experience with the Liberals in government in the ACT and nationally suggests that their view of community assets is all about dollars. To Liberals in government, an asset is what you can outsource or sell to your mates.

All I want to say today is that our most important assets are established by significant principles of history and urban planning. As a proud member for Tuggeranong, I would like to remind this Assembly and the business community that we need to be sensible about preserving what we have created.

Autism awareness week

MRS BURKE (11.41): Last September I held a focus group, if you like, with some parents of children with autism. In fact we should note that this week many of us-and probably all of us-received a pin-a-politician letter from Mr Shane Garoni, the secretary of the Autism Association ACT. I am wearing that little lapel badge today.

I was very pleased to note in the budget that the government has indeed put some funding towards autism. I note in here that Mr Wood is on a trip soon to the UK and will be looking into autism services there. I think that is to be commended.

Mr Garoni wrote:

Autism awareness week in 2004 is a chance to reflect on issues affecting people on the autism spectrum and their associates such as:

      Autism/ASD is, by definition, a clinical condition-as such, autism/ASD requires clinical attention that is not accessible to most children with autism in the ACT.

      Autism in children has increased alarmingly-research shows the autism/ASD diagnosis rate in the ACT reached at least 1% of the birth rate in 1997-

and with the exponential increase I am sure that by now that is indeed further ahead than 1 per cent-

      Autism is a distinct disability that needs specific attention.

The ACT Autism Association appreciates the government's important steps in its 2004-05 budget towards improving services for children with autism spectrum disorders. We particularly commend allocations of funds specifically to benefit young children and students with autism in the areas of Therapy ACT and Education.

So, it is a good-news story, and I am happy and pleased to be able to stand here saying that, if I had some small part in that, then that is good. It is teamwork. I applaud the government for noticing that, where there are needs in community-and these people


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