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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 May 1993) . . Page.. 1637 ..

The procedures that have been adopted by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee have ensured that the appropriate amount of public consultation takes place in relation to such variations. We regard it as being absolutely essential that the community has its say - not only the wider community in terms of the public hearings that from time to time have been held but also objectors, concerned citizenry, concerned individuals and organisations. Such people should be able to appear before not only the Planning Committee but a whole range of other committees of the Assembly, generally, but not always, following the sponsorship of issues brought to this Assembly by the Government.

There is an automatic process in relation to such things as the audit reports that are tabled here and their automatic reference to the Public Accounts Committee - again, another form of government-supported community consultation. It is an absolute requirement that when we conduct our business, both as single members of this Assembly and also as part of particular parties of government or opposition, we provide the widest opportunity for that public consultation. For anybody to suggest to the contrary is absolutely outrageous, and I think the Liberals this afternoon have embarrassed themselves quite substantially.

Tuggeranong Swimming Centre

MS ELLIS (4.56): Madam Speaker, I rise to bring to the attention of the Assembly a new facility that was opened on the weekend. I can already hear the howls of agreement from over the way when I mention the Tuggeranong pool. I want to mention it in a very precise and serious fashion. I believe that we need, as a community, to acknowledge the distance we have travelled in how we deal with and handle the problems faced by people with disabilities. Back in the eighties we had a year for the disabled, through the UN. That was probably an acknowledgment that at last the realisation had hit the community that we had to focus on the needs of those people.

A fantastic illustration of where we have come to is apparent when you visit a new facility such as the Tuggeranong pool. Sure, it is fantastic, and the community at large is going to enjoy it, but what is really important is that through an exhaustive consultative process the needs of people of any age with disabilities are brilliantly catered for. A small child suffering a disability of some kind has probably one of the best water facilities it could be taken to in the Tuggeranong pool. A person in a wheelchair who usually cannot gain access to that sort of facility can be wheeled into the water from a beach-front pool and get excellent therapy.

I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the designers, the architects, the builders and the Government for putting that pool there. I also want to pat the community on the back for the manner in which they participated in the consultation process that led to the production of those facilities. I cannot think of a need of a person in the community that is not met in that facility. I think we need occasionally to acknowledge that sort of devotion to the cause of those people. It was all voluntary time on their part to participate in that process. If people in this place have not had the opportunity, I very strongly encourage you to go down and look at the facility with that idea in mind and that focus. It is a wonderful compliment to the planners and to community consultation.

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