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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3015 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

The ACT involvement in the evaluation of the CSDA has been as follows. We have had two forums for community consultation which were arranged by the Wright Consultancy, one for consumers and one for service providers. The Community Programs Branch of the ACT Department of Health and Community Care has provided input to the following studies: Demand study undertaken by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, costings study undertaken by Australian Healthcare Associates, linkages study undertaken by Ernst and Young, and equipment study undertaken by Ernst and Young.

The current CSDA evaluation process is clearly identifying the issues which will need to be considered in the negotiations for a further agreement. Professor Anna Yeatman from the University of Western Sydney has been appointed as the principal consultant to bring together the information in the four studies and the consultations I have just outlined. She is currently preparing an interim report which will take the form of an issues paper. Early in the new year this will be released for further consultation prior to the release of the final report.

As has been noted, the evaluation is still in progress and the further consultations in the second phase have yet to occur. The first phase of the CSDA evaluation is to provide Ministers with the final report and clear options for a new agreement, obviously taking into account the very definite shortfalls of the old agreement that were very well spelt out by Bryan Woodford in his letter. As part of the evaluation, a number of major concerns are being raised across Australia. These include gaps in service delivery, access to daytime programs, and school-to-work options. As I have outlined, there are well-established processes by which people may raise concerns about specific CSDA-related issues to feed into the process of the evaluation report. To appoint a select committee at this time would not serve any benefit but would be a waste of the very precious resources that we have in the area of disabilities. Our focus should be on progressing the current activities aimed at implementing the disability reforms which are in progress in the ACT and which of course were approved under the previous Government as an appropriate way to go. I do not believe that a select committee at this stage would help this process.

I plan in the new year to put forward to the Social Policy Committee a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations coming from the Dell report. The Anna Yeatman report will be available to the Social Policy Committee as well. In view of all of the above, it is certainly not appropriate to have a select committee to inquire into and report on the operation of the CSDA. We have a fairly in-depth process, started under the previous Government, to look into that not just in the ACT but federally as well. I think it is very important, though, that the Social Policy Committee be part of the evaluation process; but to start it all over again would simply be a waste of resources. We have to understand, as I am sure at least those on the crossbenches do, that a full-scale inquiry seeking submissions from all interested parties and so on would be a huge drain on the resources of particularly community groups that are already inputting into the evaluation processes in place.

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