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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 497 ..

Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill 2020-2021

Debate resumed from 9 February 2021, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Debate (on motion by Mr Gentleman) adjourned to the next sitting.

Official Visitor for Disability Services—annual report

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (4.18): Pursuant to standing order 211, I move:

That the Assembly take note of the following paper:

Official Visitor Act—Pursuant to section 17—Annual Report 2019-20—Official Visitor (Disability Services).

Today I am pleased to table the Official Visitor for Disability Services annual report for 2019-20. The Official Visitors for Disability Services have a vital role in monitoring and investigating the welfare of individuals with a disability, as well as ensuring that people with a disability, and their loved ones, can raise concerns about the services they receive. The Official Visitor Scheme is part of a suite of important oversight and quality assurance mechanisms designed to provide rigorous scrutiny of and support to services, with the goal of ensuring the best possible outcomes for people with disability in the ACT.

The Official Visitors for Disability Services are the only means by which some people, who may not be able to make a complaint about poor service, receive regular visits from people dedicated to ensuring their individual wellbeing. The Official Visitor for Disability Services scheme is therefore the only scheme for some ACT residents living in a visitable place to protect their human rights and assure the quality of services.

During this extraordinary year, the visitors—Ms Mary Durkin, Ms Narelle Hargreaves and Mr Chris Redmond—have continued to fulfil their role as the eyes and ears for the government in monitoring, detecting and remedying problems in visitable places for people with disability. As the new Minister for Disability in the ACT, I am honoured to have oversight of the Official Visitors for Disability Services and look forward to a collaborative relationship over the coming years.

Despite the multiple challenges this year, including bushfire smoke, a damaging hailstorm and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Official Visitors for Disability Services made 278 visits, met with 573 people, and received and considered formal complaints from 77 entitled people in the ACT. I know that my predecessor, Suzanne Orr, would join me in thanking Ms Durkin, Ms Hargreaves and Mr Redmond for their care for and dedication to this most important role.

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