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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3361..


MR KAINE (continuing):

But I suspect that he does have an option, and that is to seek to defer the debate, and to adjourn. He can then test the Government's legal opinion and see whether or not he agrees with it, and whether he wants to argue that point.

Debate (on motion by Ms Tucker )adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 12.02 to 2.30 pm
.

QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

COOOL Houses in Macquarie

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care. On 14 October I asked the Minister a series of questions about COOOL houses at Macquarie and the rejection of an application by residents of those houses to provide their own care. In a supplementary answer to my question after question time the Minister said that ACT Community Care had not been offered a two-year contract to provide the service pending a review of the decision. In light of the Minister's assurance that Community Care had not been offered a contract, can the Minister explain a minute of the same date from Community Care's regional manager and accommodation support manager to staff at Macquarie COOOL houses which says:

...the Disability Program has been advised that it will be managing the COOOL Project for two years. As a result of this Disability Program will be advertising for permanent employees to staff the project. Existing staff members, currently on temporary contract with the Disability Program are being offered the opportunity to apply for these positions.

MR MOORE: Mr Stanhope, my advice was as I said to the Assembly, but I will take that part of the question on notice and get back to you because that minute certainly disturbs me. Let me say though that there is an appeal mechanism available. I would also like to add that I had a letter from the members of CHOM requesting that the appeal mechanism be changed so that instead of the chief executive of the Department of Health, David Butt, being the arbiter, it be somebody else agreed to by us. I am unlikely to accept that because my understanding - I am going to look at the documentation - is that there was an agreed process prior to this approach being taken and that the person set out in that agreed process to settle any dispute was the chief executive of the Department of Health. If the approach was as I understand it to be, then that is who will be resolving this issue.

I must say, Mr Stanhope, I am distressed if what you say is the case, but it is not my advice. I will be looking at that and I will get back to you to explain the situation.

MR STANHOPE

: I have a supplementary question. Minister, I accept that you are concerned about the substance of the question, but do you agree that the obvious conflict between your answer to the Assembly last Thursday and this minute from your department seriously compromises the independence of the review into the decision to


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