Page 1189 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Castley for the supplementary. As I say to all of the people who write to me, contact me or talk to me about this, I am very sorry to hear about the experience of this family. It is really unfortunate when these things happen. As I say, we have been extraordinarily busy. It is not something that has just occurred; people’s surgery occasionally gets delayed because of some significant demands on emergency surgery, and Canberra Hospital is working through that.
It is exactly why, in the budget, we committed additional funding for emergency surgery. We provided additional funding for both the emergency department and for emergency surgery, to ensure that we could increase the number of hours. There was $39 million to increase emergency surgery capacity and post-surgery care, providing 1,920 theatre hours over the year for emergency surgery, to ensure that we could respond to that increased demand that we are seeing, and increasing the bed base by eight, to support that greater throughput of both elective and emergency surgery.
Disability—ACT disability strategy
MR BRADDOCK: My question is to the Minister for Disability. Minister, the ACT
disability strategy is currently open for public consultation. Can you please provide an update to the Assembly about the strategy and why it is so important for Canberrans?
MS DAVIDSON: I thank the member for the question. The consultations that have recently started for the ACT’s disability strategy are incredibly important because they set the work agenda for ACT government for the next 10 years of how we make sure that we are a truly inclusive and accessible city for people with disability.
I would like to note that we are now in our third year of risk and isolation for people with disability, as well as for their carers and their family and friends. While a lot of us have really been enjoying being able to go back to a lot of the in-person things that we have previously done, there are people with disability for whom that is too great a risk.
With that in mind, the Community Services Directorate and the Office for Disability have worked with the disability reference group to come up with a plan for how we do this consultation in a way that is inclusive for people and enables them to participate, whether that is in small groups or from home, as well as in larger groups.
It is incredibly important that we are able to have conversations about things that we have not been able to talk about these last couple of years while people have been dealing with the risks of COVID for people with disability, as well as trying to save the NDIS and keep it true to its original intent of choice and control for people with disability. A lot of those conversations have very much focused on a very medicalised view of what disability means.
What we are able to do with these consultations is have a really broad conversation about what disability means and about the ways in which people with disability would like to engage in our community and participate in employment, education and leadership in our community. Those conversations take courage, both from people