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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 1995) . . Page.. 1439 ..


Last year the previous Government commissioned Ms Sunny Dell to report on the state of services for people with intellectual disabilities in the ACT. The Dell report produced a number of useful recommendations for the reform of services for these people in the ACT. However, I believe it is important that these recommendations be implemented in an integrated way and that we consider all people with disabilities when developing reform measures. The previous Government concurred with the majority of Dell's broader recommendations and committed to consult widely on implementation of these recommendations. I have agreed to continue this strategy.

As a number of the report's recommendations were operational in nature, they have already been considered and the recommended changes implemented. For example, operational procedures have been developed, have been agreed by parents and staff and are awaiting union endorsement prior to their implementation; a regional structure for disability support is being developed; individual needs assessments are replacing IQ tests to determine eligibility for services; training on the legislation and disability service standards will be completed by the end of the month; work has commenced on the establishment of a client database and an individual incident recording system; individual financial records and more rigorous systems are now in place in group houses; flip charts will be provided to each group house to provide information on steps to be taken to deal with all forms of emergency; and a program for recruitment has been implemented to keep casual and acting positions to a minimum.

To provide a better framework for this reform we will be introducing an amendment to the ACT Disability Services Act 1991 to insert national disability standards applicable to the ACT as Schedule 3 of the Act. We will be ensuring that government-wide procedures are in place so that consideration is given to the needs of people with disabilities at the planning stage. We will be requesting the Disability Services Advisory Council, DSAC, to advise me on service outcomes for people with disabilities within the ACT, particularly as they relate to individual empowerment, participation, contribution and choice. I have already launched the first DSAC community forum for service providers on the 18th of this month. A second forum for service users will be held on 9 September and its outcomes will enable DSAC to better advise government of its constituents' needs. We will be ensuring that more appropriate accommodation and support are provided to young adults with disabilities who are presently inappropriately accommodated in institutional aged care settings.

As you are aware, to facilitate the reform, a disability services development project has been set up within the Department of Health and Community Care. The project team will work cooperatively with all interested parties and has already established some agreed priority areas for development and improvement. A major outcome sought from the project is the reform of the Government's residential and respite services programs, to ensure that more client focused and responsive models of care are developed and delivered. Over the next few months a range of strategies will be implemented to improve these and other important areas of support, to ensure better outcomes for people with disabilities in the ACT.


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