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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 498 ..

After seven years as an official visitor for disability, demonstrating extraordinary commitment to vulnerable Canberrans, Ms Hargreaves retired from the role in August last year, replaced in this role by Mr Rob Woolley. On behalf of the government, I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Ms Hargreaves for her significant contribution to the Official Visitor Scheme and her dedication to the people she served.

The examples within the report of some of the complaints managed throughout the year illustrate the wide-ranging and often complex issues addressed by the official visitors, from a resident being provided dietary advice by a chiropractor, to supporting guardians and entitled people to raise concerns with their service providers. A continuing thread is the visitors’ readiness to increase their attention to and monitoring of people’s health and wellbeing.

This year has seen the progression or continuation of a number of issues of concern raised by the official visitors in the previous report. In addition, the last year has seen many activities undertaken by the official visitors curtailed because of restrictions associated with the pandemic. The official visitors ceased regular face-to-face visits in March, only visiting homes when they received a serious complaint. Regardless, contact was maintained with homes by telephone and email during this period, checking on the welfare of residents and that appropriate COVID-safe practices had been put in place to ensure the safety of staff and residents. This work continues.

The official visitors continue to experience a substantial increase in workload, as the number of visitable places increased from 144 in the 2017-18 annual report to over 200 at present. I commend Ms Mary Durkin, Ms Narelle Hargreaves and Mr Chris Redmond for managing the workload over the previous year.

I also note that there remain people under 64 years old with disabilities who live in residential aged care. In my meeting with them on 16 December 2020, I asked the National Disability Insurance Agency to provide details to the official visitors to ensure that their homes are included in the register of visitable places. I am advised that the NDIA will be providing this information soon, and I look forward to the official visitors being able to support the human rights of younger people with disabilities in residential aged care.

In closing, I thank the official visitors for identifying systemic and serious issues of concern in the report. I look forward to meeting with them and working to progress resolutions and advocating on behalf of persons with disability in the ACT.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021—Select Committee


MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Madam Speaker has been notified, in writing, of the nominations of Mr Cain, Mr Davis and Dr Paterson to be members of the Select Committee on the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021.

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