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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1118..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

within the Chief Minister's Department. That is my commitment—to remain committed to the central implementation and overall control vested in me for issues around energy and climate change.

Disability services

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Disability and Community Services. Families of children who reside in disability group homes have recently been given conflicting responses by two different departmental officials from disability and community services. One piece of advice was that there were no vacant places in any group homes across the ACT. Another statement was that there were 14 vacant places and that, of those 14 places, two or three are left in the case of emergency. Minister, can you please advise me which position is the accurate one?

MS GALLAGHER: I will take some advice on that. I have not been briefed on that issue. I have not had any feedback from parents on concerns about that. We do run, I think, 65 group homes and about 160 adults live in those homes. I understand that from time to time there will be vacancies and that some places do need to be kept for emergency placement. I will take some advice on that and get back to you. I should be able to do that today and give the Assembly that information.

MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question. Minister, perhaps you will also be able to find out whether the provision of group homes is subject to the findings of the functional review and what cuts to disability services will result from the review.

MS GALLAGHER: I am not sure that that is supplementary to the first question, Mr Speaker, but my answer is going to be as it was to the question on the health area. The functional review has looked at the entire range of government expenditure. Cabinet is currently considering that information and we are not going to stand here and go to and fro on this matter. Decisions will be taken in the context of the budget as a whole.

Again, like health, this is an area of great importance to the community—the provision of appropriate accommodation for people in our community that need accommodation and need supported accommodation. It is not by any means something that the government will walk away from and we need to extend a strong message that Disability ACT's provision of group homes will continue. We are not walking away from that. I do not want the community to get concerned that there will be any change to that. The functional review looked at a whole range of areas and the Department of Disability and Community Services is, of course, a part of that functional review.

Policing—numbers

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. This morning on ABC radio federal police commissioner Mick Keelty suggested, as we have just heard, the need for the ACT to employ an additional 100 police officers to bring ACT Policing towards the staffing levels that are required to have an adequate community policing force in the ACT. One hundred extra police officers would also bring us closer to the national average. The Costello review has identified that your government is currently spending more per capita on services than any other jurisdiction in Australia and has advised that the government needs to bring its spending back to the national average to


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