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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3017 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

argument that the reference should go to the Social Policy Committee. However, I think it is worth keeping in mind that any member may be involved in a committee's research, although not in its deliberations. I hope that the Social Policy Committee extends such an invitation to ensure that members are aware of when this matter is being examined.

Ms McRae: It is always on the yellow sheet.

MR MOORE: That is not the same thing. There is much more control on how a select committee works. This issue is very much within the terms of reference of the Social Policy Committee. For the reference to go to them and for them to keep a watching brief would be entirely appropriate.

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (11.11): I thank members for their comments. Mr Speaker, I want to say at the outset that I have made absolutely no recommendations or even comments about how a committee might go about the task that is the subject of my motion. Indeed, I would expect any committee taking on such a task to do so in the most efficient and effective way possible. I am aware, as are other members, of the body of review activity that has been going on into the operation of the Disability Agreement. I am also aware that, for the most part, that review activity has been conducted at a fairly organised and formal level and that there has been little opportunity for individuals or some of the less formal organisations to have a great deal of input. I know that one forum has been held for consumers, for the people who expect to benefit from the disability services; but I do not think one forum, which they may or may not have been able to attend, is exactly over the top in terms of consultation on a very difficult and very diverse issue. There was also one forum for the providers of services. Again, Mr Speaker, I do not regard that as exactly an extravagant consultation process.

I know that papers are in preparation and that reports were brought down over the course of the existing agreement. They need to be evaluated, but I believe that this Assembly has a legitimate role in examining a very important social issue, an issue which affects a vast number of people in our own community. I believe that those people have every right to feel that their local representatives are taking an active interest in that issue and are prepared to listen personally to their views. I am aware of the bureaucratic arrangements that are going on and I am aware of the formal and organisational arrangements that are going on, but I have a strong view that, over and above all of that activity, we ought to take a part as well.

Mr Speaker, I am certainly not denigrating anything that is occurring. I would be the last one to do that. As Mrs Carnell said, most of what is occurring was set in train by my Government. But I am also aware that in much of the material gaps were identified and great difficulties in the operation of this agreement were brought to light. As I have said, I do not mind which committee takes on this task, but I expect that if a committee does take it on it will be done thoroughly and in an open and consultative manner. I do not think it is appropriate for a committee simply to take whatever the Government hands over to it, and I do not believe that any committee of this Assembly would do that.

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