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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 8 Hansard (14 August) . . Page.. 3079..

well together as a committee and, while there are some dissenting comments to the report, I think overall we did work very collaboratively in terms of coming up with a report and recommendations that could be agreed on by all committee members.

I would also like to particularly thank the committee secretary, Sam Salvaneschi. She did an excellent job in pulling all this together. I know it is a very difficult job to do in terms of recording the proceedings of the hearings, pulling the report together and obviously the questions on notice that come through the process and then obviously the answers coming back. So I would like to thank her in particular for her work. She did an extraordinary job.

I also thank all the committee secretaries and staff, because I know that it is a time when all the committee staff pull together to make sure the process runs smoothly. It did, and I thank them all for their contributions, and particularly thank Lydia Chung, who took all the questions on notice and compiled that process. Again, as I said previously, that is quite a considerable process as well. So I do thank Lydia for that work.

I will go through some of the recommendations from the report. It is quite a considerable report. I should note that on the first day of the hearings, as has been practice in past estimates processes, we heard from community groups. I should thank them also for their contributions in terms of the submissions they made and going through the questionnaire process that has been instituted, which is very useful, and for appearing before the committee. Their contributions are extremely important. They do come on that first day but it does also lead into questions which the committee can then ask of directorates and ministers. I think it is a really important part of the process, because it is allows them to not only make submissions and contribute but to actually be a part of the hearings and then, as I said, inform the committee in terms of some of the key issues for community groups. And because they have that direct contact, that grassroots contact with members of the community, it is an extremely important and vital part of the whole process.

One of the recommendations which I will point out is the recommendation in there about having reports in an accessible format. I draw attention to that particular one, because we heard from one of the community groups, Disability ACT, that one of the issues was that the budget papers themselves were not in an accessible format for people who are blind or have vision impairment. That is one of the recommendations that have been made. I think that is particularly important, because it is actually about the community being able to fully participate in this process. So I hope that is one of the recommendations that the government accepts and we can make sure in the future that those papers are available in a format which everybody can access.

Before I go to some of the recommendations, I note there are some dissenting comments from Mr Coe and Mr Smyth. Ms Hunter and I also made some additional comments. This is in relation to—and I will go to the actual notes—chapter 9 of the report. The Community Services Directorate looked at the $500,000 that had been allocated in the budget to assist the directorate to investigate innovative models of social housing for people with disabilities. Carers ACT had put in a budget submission asking for a social and economic analysis, not just of government models

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