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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 6 (3 May) . . Page.. 1711..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

Minister, at a recent public forum that I attended, you heard and acknowledged that the process of applying for disability support funding has become a competition in misery and that the quantum of funding available is vastly inadequate, putting excessive stress on families. Minister, you said that you acknowledge the problem and recognise that "a big bucket of money", in addition to the existing funding, needs to be allocated to disability support to address unmet need, yet in the newspaper today you are quoted as saying, "In an area of responsibility such as disability funding, demand will always outstrip supply."

Minister, are you saying that the government will never fully fund disability support and that we can expect high unmet need amongst individuals and families affected by disability to continue throughout the term of this government? As I may have left out the word "fully", I will repeat the question. Are you saying that the government will never fully fund disability support?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Dr Foskey for her very good attempt at trying to have what is in the budget revealed. With respect to all human services-all human services-I suspect that we will never be able to satisfy demand. The challenge for any government is to do it so that the impact of it is minimised and to do the very best it can. I can say to Dr Foskey that I was at that meeting and I did hear it, which is different from those opposite, who have listened to people in the past but have not heard them particularly well. I have to say to Dr Foskey that she should keep an eye on the budget for the detail; she will be pleasantly surprised. This government has actually responded to the plea of the people to whom she referred. I urge her to listen closely.

DR FOSKEY: In that case, will the government undertake a full and proper review of unmet need for disability services, as promised at the 2001 election?

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my response to Dr Foskey through you is that the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services has constant dialogue with the disability sector. The Disability Advisory Council, under the chairmanship of Craig Wallace, advises me independently of the state of play out there. I am confident that the processes for identifying the unmet need within the disability sector are adequately covered by the department. I have absolute confidence. Indeed, it was that department's advocacy on behalf of the sector that gave me such strength of argument that my cabinet colleagues concurred. The information will be revealed in the budget.

Canberra war memorial

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Could the Chief Minister please outline initiatives being undertaken or supported by the ACT government that honour those from the ACT and the nation who have served Australia in war or peacekeeping operations.

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Porter for a very timely question, as we conclude the significant commemorations of Anzac Day, which is perhaps acknowledged now as the most significant day on the national calendar. It was a significant honour to be involved with the 90th anniversary celebrations of Anzac Day at the War Memorial this year.


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