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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 2 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 484..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

commonwealth is not handling it in a way which we approve of but it's up to them, so we won't bother ourselves."

I must say, Dr Foskey, to the extent that you are somewhat confused by reports on the ABC and in the Canberra Times, so am I. At no stage have I indicated that I would not be pursuing the investigation that I said I would pursue. The Office for Ageing in the Chief Minister's Department has, over the last week since I made this announcement, been holding discussions with interested persons and developing, at my request, terms of reference for the nature and the scope of an inquiry which we can involve ourselves in-accepting, as I said, this is a commonwealth responsibility.

I have to say, and I hesitate to say this, that one of the concerns that I have in relation to the allegations that have been made-and I think it needs to be said-is that the issue is also subject to a Senate committee of inquiry where the very same concerns have been lodged by ADICUS. Some of the allegations that have been made, particularly by the representative of ADICUS, involve, to my mind, allegations of criminal behaviour. I think that the complaints are of an order that raise serious questions-indeed, questions going to the extent to which some of the behaviour constitutes quite serious assaults. I am taking advice, for instance, in relation to whether or not, indeed, it behoves ADICUS to take its concerns to the ACT Police.

DR FOSKEY: I have a supplementary question. I was wondering whether you could provide us with some sort of timeframe for your follow-up work.

MR STANHOPE: In fact, Dr Foskey, I have a meeting scheduled in my office today with officers of the Office for Ageing from within the Chief Minister's Department to discuss issues around how we might structure an inquiry or a way forward.

The issue, though, of elder abuse, let me just repeat, is an issue that the ACT government has taken seriously. In our last budget, I think we appropriated something like $400,000 in pursuit of our commitment in dealing with issues of elder abuse. The ACT, I believe, at this stage is the only jurisdiction in Australia that has an elder abuse hotline to allow people who have suffered elder abuse, or the families of people who have suffered elder abuse, to make direct contact, in a confidential way, with officers of the ACT government so that their concerns and complaints around elder abuse are heard sympathetically and responded to.

One of issues that I would pursue further, of course, is the extent of the work that we have done through the elder abuse task force and, for instance, our education campaign and program, with our commitment to an elder abuse hotline. We are making the services that we provide in relation to elder abuse available to all residents of aged care accommodation as well, of course, to all other residents within the community.

Bushfires-rebuilding

MRS BURKE: My question is to the minister for housing. Yesterday, in response to a supplementary question that I asked about security of tenure for Pierces Creek residents, the Chief Minister said:


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