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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 9 Hansard (17 September) . .

Page.. 2817..

Children and young people—disability services

Members interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order! We are getting a little raucous. Mr Wall has the call; I would like to be able to hear him.

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Disability. Hopefully, she is a bit more across this portion of her brief. Minister, since your announcement that the ACT—

Ms Burch: Madam Speaker, can I make a point of order? Is that allowed within a question—to have that level of preamble? Thank you for clarification.

MADAM SPEAKER: There are no injunctions about preambles in initial questions. I think that if you had listened to Mrs Jones's question—if you want to make a point of order or something, you can stand up and make a point of order or be quiet. If you had listened to Mrs Jones's question, for instance, earlier on, it was quite a lengthy preamble, all of which is in order. Mr Wall, you had a question.

MR WALL: As I said before, my question is to the Minister for Disability. Minister, since you announced the ACT government's closure of early intervention units for children with a disability, you have stated on numerous occasions that "no child will be left behind" when it comes to the continuity of these services. Minister, will you stand by your previous statement that no child will be left behind?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Wall for his interest in this question. We will transition the young folk, children and young people, through to the national disability insurance scheme and they will be supported by community providers. A child that is receiving a service now will continue to receive a service. I have made that commitment and I will work very hard to make sure that community providers are there to pick up where government will withdraw from specialist disability early intervention services currently delivered through Education and Training Directorate because those services will come to an end this school year.

On the weekend, on Saturday—I am not sure if Mr Wall took advantage of attending the expo—I would hope that Mr Wall took advantage of seeing the around 50 organisations that attended there and the many hundreds of individuals and families that went to have a direct conversation with community providers. The feedback I got when I spoke with families and with the community organisations that were there was that that was a great opportunity. Parents were seeing opportunities that they had not even thought about before.

That is the change of our community. Yes, we are withdrawing from services. That is a hard decision to take; we have taken it. Yes, it will no doubt cause a level of distress and concern for some. But, over the edge of that, the horizon that they will have, the opportunities and the breadth of services that the NDIA can now provide I think will put those families in better stead than the services they have at the moment.

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