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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2486..


MRS CROSS (continuing):

The half-baked plans of the government to close RILU are a pathetically transparent attempt to cover up the truly astounding problem in aged care. The minister goes to all the trouble of ratting on state Labor colleagues on the Australian health care agreement's payoff in aged care only to discover that he has not got a venue. In his desperation, he casts around for an off-campus site that he can use and picks RILU.

If ever there was an indictment of the ability of this government to plan, then this is it. The good news is: even if this motion is defeated-and I am hoping it is not-we will know, and all of Tuggeranong will know, that John Hargreaves is so muted, so impotent, that he cannot effect a decision on an area he feels passionate about. The people of Tuggeranong will know that John Hargreaves is just talk. I am sure Paschal and Rebecca will enjoy dancing on the political grave of Mr Hargreaves, just as you enjoyed dancing on Mr Whitecross's.

Ms MacDonald: Mr Speaker, I seek your ruling. Mrs Cross was making a personal imputation on Mr Hargreaves, and I do not know that that was parliamentary.

MR SPEAKER: Well, I missed that. I'll have to have a look at the Hansard report later.

MRS CROSS: But I digress. I urge the Assembly to support this very worthy motion. To support it will ensure that a vital community resource gets to continue. To oppose this motion is to close a vital resource and to cover Mr Corbell's exposed rear.

MS DUNDAS (12.28): This is a very important debate on how we provide services to the community for those people in great need. We all agree that the Rehabilitation Independent Living Unit plays an important role in our health care system, particularly in relation to community health care.

I agree wholeheartedly that the RILU has done some amazing things and that the testimonials of former patients are a tribute to the work that has been done by the staff and the facilities available at RILU. It is a shining example of what can go right when health care is properly resourced and staffed. So I do have concerns that the government plans to reduce the number of community rehabilitation beds by relocating some of those to Canberra Hospital and shifting others away from a purpose-built, non-acute community facility and into patients' homes.

It is without a doubt that additional transitional care places are necessary and it is welcome to see the government attempting to fulfil its agreement with the Commonwealth, but it is a shame that, in doing so, it is cutting places in another part of the health system. With a budget surplus of almost $250 million over three years, this government is making cuts it does not have to, and these cuts are short-term cuts. If people are expected to be rehabilitated in their homes, surely these home will have to be appropriately equipped and there will have to be greater levels of nursing available to people in their houses.

Where is the money for this particular initiative coming from? How will we support people in their homes? Where is the budget increases for extra community nurses? We are having an ongoing debate about the appropriate pay for nurses and how to support


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