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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 12 Hansard (30 October) . .

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Disability services official visitor report—2013-14 annual report

Paper and statement by minister

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Racing and Gaming, Minister for Women and Minister for the Arts): For the information of members I present the following paper:

Official Visitor Act, pursuant to section 17—Official Visitor for Disability Services—Annual Report 2013-14.

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MS BURCH: I am pleased today to present the annual report for the Official Visitor for Disability Services. The annual report outlines the activities of the Official Visitor for Disability Services for the period 1 September last year to 30 June 2014.

The Official Visitor for Disability Services is a newly established role, following the enactment of the Official Visitor Act 2012. Most significantly, the establishment of this role has allowed for a visiting and complaints mechanism for people with a disability living in community settings.

During the reporting period amendments were made to the Disability Services Act 1991 to strengthen the official visitor role. This legislation ensures that the Official Visitor for Disability Services can continue to operate effectively under the national disability insurance scheme.

There are currently two official visitors for disability services who have been appointed to share the role. They are Ms Narelle Hargreaves and Ms Sue Salthouse. They have taken on the challenge of establishing their role with great enthusiasm.

Over the last 10 months the official visitors have been raising awareness about the scheme. They have taken the opportunity to engage with people with a disability and their families and guardians and have delivered presentations about their role and functions to a range of community and government organisations. Conservatively, they have reached some 520 people across 137 locations.

The official visitors have also undertaken the important role of visiting people with a disability who are living in "visitable places" in the community. Under the Disability Services Act 1991, a visitable place is disability accommodation provided for respite or long-term residential purposes. This includes supported accommodation and respite services operated by Disability ACT, accommodation provided by community organisations and residential aged-care facilities that accommodate people with a disability who are aged under 65 years.

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