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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 15 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 5453..


Disability services—wheelchair access

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, I have received representations from stakeholders from the disability sector who were invited to attend the 2009 International Day of People with a Disability celebration breakfast held last week at the National Botanic Gardens. Minister, these stakeholders have mobility issues and use wheelchairs and were unable to attend the function because of accessibility issues. Were you aware that this particular venue is difficult to access if you are in a wheelchair?

MS BURCH: It was a wonderful morning, a beautiful Canberra morning on a Thursday, having breakfast. There were people there in wheelchairs after breakfast, and also there was the Oxfam walk. Indeed, on that walk there were people accessing that walk that were in a wheelchair. If there are problems with that site, raise them with me, but I want the Assembly to know that I am not aware of that. I encouraged people to go on the walk, and given that there were people in wheelchairs there and at the walk, I was not aware of those concerns.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary question?

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what research took place before you signed off on the use of the venue?

MS BURCH: I will ask my department for advice on that and get back to the member.

MR COE: Mr Speaker—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, a supplementary question?

MR COE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what is the policy of DHCS with regard to the use of wheelchair-accessible venues for all functions and meetings, and is there any advice sought from people who use a wheelchair?

MS BURCH: I go back to the first thing, that I thought it was a wheelchair-accessible venue. You would like a copy of DHCS policy and venue assessment. The detail I do not have but, as I have said before, I will get back to you.

Public housing—maintenance

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, a performance audit report on the maintenance of public housing by the Auditor-General earlier this year noted in relation to the total facilities maintenance contract:

There are opportunities for further improvement, particularly in monitoring the quality and timeliness of work carried out by sub-contractors.

Minister, what opportunities for improvement have you identified and what improvements have been implemented to date?


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