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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2239 ..

leave those families hanging without that support and that follow-up being provided. I believe that that is essential if we are to do the right thing by these families in the ACT.

Once again, I thank Mr Doszpot for bringing forward the motion today and the ACT Greens will be supporting this motion.

MR HANSON (Molonglo) (11.32): I thank Mr Doszpot and I commend him for bringing forward this important motion. I note his continuing interest in and advocacy for people with disabilities here in the ACT and for community groups who are helping them. I would also like to thank Ms Hunter for her words and her support of Mr Doszpot’s motion. Between them, Mr Doszpot and Ms Hunter have outlined well the situation and also the role and the tasks of both organisations, and I thank them for that.

What is clear about what is happening is that, as of 30 June, both organisations are going to fall off the edge of the cliff. Because the minister has failed to synchronise the tendering process with the interim funding, the consequences for both organisations are dire. Essentially, as of 30 June, which is about a week away, two very important community organisations who are supporting young families and people with disabilities in this community are going to fall off the edge of a cliff. That is a terrible thing for the staff, it is a terrible thing for the parents, and, most importantly, it is a terrible thing for those young children.

I welcome Wendy Addison from Noah’s Ark to the chamber; I thank her for coming here today. My focus today, though, will be on the Shepherd Centre, because I visited them earlier this week. But I am sure the sorts of things that I will say about the Shepherd Centre could equally apply to Noah’s Ark. I do look forward to visiting Noah’s Ark at some time in the future—hopefully in the new financial year—when they have received some form of assurance or funding from this government.

Mr Doszpot and I visited the centre on Monday, and what we saw touched us both quite profoundly: dedicated parents doing their very best for their children in remarkably difficult circumstances. We spoke to numerous parents and we spoke to staff. Each of the parents had a different story, but each of them was consistent in their praise for what they got out of the Shepherd Centre and what it meant for their children and their praise for the staff.

I spoke to the parents of a young child who had become deaf after contracting meningitis. Just imagine the effect on the parents. I spoke to the parents of a young boy who had been born seven weeks premature and was deaf. I spoke to the mother of twins; one of the boys was profoundly deaf—he had a cochlear implant—while the other boy had no hearing impairment at all. It was a joy to see them going about interacting with other children and staff at the Shepherd Centre. I spoke to the mother of a young girl who was born without any functioning ears. In fact, she had small nodules where her ears should be and she was profoundly deaf. I spoke to the parents of a young boy who had serious hearing problems, and this was compounded by other disabilities that he also has.

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