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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 August 2021) . . Page.. 2234 ..

Planning, Transport and City Services—Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (4.07): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services.

I rise today to advise the Assembly that the Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services is currently seeking further information on notice that will, if received, allow it to complete its inquiry into Giralang shops.

Senior Practitioner Amendment Bill 2021

Debate resumed from 24 June 2021, on motion by Ms Davidson:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (4.08): I note the shortness of this bill and advise that the Canberra Liberals support the amendments it makes. However, I note that the implications of COVID-19 may have had some impacts, including a reduced ability to monitor and document issues by both the Senior Practitioner and service providers, a possible increase in restrictive practices due to administrative and staffing pressures, and a reduced likelihood of new or unidentified restrictive practices being reported.

The government promised to provide to the Assembly before the end of February 2022 a summary interim report covering the work undertaken so far. Regardless of the ambiguity over timing in this statement, it is unfortunate that reporting on statistics of events during an extensive COVID-affected period will not be made available for another eight months. The lack of comprehensive reports may mean vital remedial action is not taken in a timely manner or that critical funding is deferred.

Consultations with the consumer advisory sector in the ACT reveal a high level of concern about the aim to defer reporting, as several recent major inquiries have revealed significant shortcomings in relation to services provided to residents of care and aged persons facilities. We need to know whether care standards have slipped. There is a need to ensure continued fairness for those with disability.

The likely passage of the Carers Recognition Bill will enhance interest by carers in their rights. Recognition is needed to address under-resourcing. It is also important that stronger consideration be given to the right to protection and safety for both the person with the disability and others involved with care and further services. Delays in identifying systemic issues should not be overlooked. The responsibility for reporting falls mainly on public servants and institutions. All continue to operate during the ongoing COVID situation in the ACT.

I am fearful that the extra time to be provided for reporting will give the government more opportunities to broaden the scope and definition of restrictive practices on vulnerable people, at the expense of failing to remedy existing poor practices. Nonetheless, I confirm that the Canberra Liberals will support this bill.

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