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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 1336..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

One of the main areas that the committee spoke of was problems around power of attorney. I do hope that the government will be moving, as they say that they are in their response, to look into power of attorney. It is an issue about which a number of people have approached my office with concerns and it was an issue that came up again in the Gallop inquiry.

I hope that the inquiry into complaints mechanisms in the ACT also will look at the way that different office holders in the ACT deal with power of attorney when it is presented to them. It is of concern that so many elder members of our community are having their rights abused by people that they once trusted enough to delegate power of attorney to them.

There are recommendations in the report relating to having a whole-of-government approach and the government did note that they are establishing frameworks to deal with these areas. How these frameworks are being implemented and are actually being taken up is a question that still remains unanswered. We are now almost halfway through the Stanhope government's term. I do recognise that there was a lot of work to be done when they took the reins of government, but a lot of this work is urgent and we are still waiting to see whether we are doing whatever it is that we need to do for our community.

The other recommendation that I would like to turn to is the one about the incidence of social isolation, which is of concern in parts of our community, not just those of older people in our community, but also single mothers, those with mental illness, those who are unfortunately living at the edges of our community. How to address the problem of social isolation and allow people to access support communities before they become crisis communities is something that we are still tackling.

With the Fifth Assembly calling on the government to respond to this report of the Fourth Assembly and the government again having before it a report that draws attention to the great social issues that are facing our community, I hope that we will have some action taken. The committees of this Assembly do a lot of work and put down a number of reports and it is always of concern if reports end up just sitting on a shelf. They are a great body of research that does call for action by government.

We are now at that time, as we await the budget, where we need to look at whether we are taking the steps that are needed to address social isolation, to assist people as they develop powers of attorney, and to look after the aged community in the ACT.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Planning and Environment-Standing Committee

Report No 13

MRS DUNNE (11.46): I present the following report:

Planning and Environment-Standing Committee-Report No. 13-Draft variation No. 187 to the Territory Plan-Heritage Places Register-Red Hill Housing Precinct, dated 1 April 2003, together with a copy of the relevant extracts of the minutes of proceedings.


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