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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1823 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

operating within the ACT; but, unfortunately, none of those have any capacity for a sign interpreter service. There is an opportunity for the ACT Deafness Resource Centre, the Health Migrant Unit and the Translating and Interpreting Service, that is, the TIS, to discuss the feasibility of establishing a sign interpreter service as part of their service provision and fund this service from existing moneys.

The Department of Health and Community Care is at present moving towards a new funding system which will take effect from 1 July 1996. Funding rounds will no longer be part of that approach. In fact, many here in the Assembly are aware of the new approach that has been taken in Health. The new system will consist of a comprehensive mechanism for determining needs, planning for service provision and establishing purchasing priorities. This system will replace the old system of competing submissions. In addition, in place of service agreements, organisations will contract with the department - the purchaser - to provide services.

Ms McRae: What a load of codswallop!

MRS CARNELL: It is interesting that Ms McRae is saying, "What codswallop!". The whole point of this exercise is that it will allow us to prioritise services such as the sign interpreter service. Remember that it was a service that was not funded by the previous Government. I think they should be a little quiet and certainly not "holier than thou" on this one.

MR SPEAKER: They should certainly be quiet, yes.

MRS CARNELL: Certainly, Mr Speaker. Officers from my department are spending a lot of time on this issue, to work out ways in which there might be a capacity to set up such a service in the ACT. Similar services exist in other places. Again, it is a priorities issue.

Ms McRae: Yes, priority 5210.


MRS CARNELL: Ms McRae obviously believes that there are other services that are currently being funded that could be defunded to fund this service. I would be extremely happy for Ms McRae to approach me and tell me which ones she thinks should go. But, certainly, in the budget context, we will be looking at this service. We do see it as having a great deal of benefit to the community generally. But, as I expect everybody, except those opposite, knows, the funds are tight. It is a matter of priorities, and we will be looking at it.

MS REILLY: Obviously, my question was too complicated. It was obviously difficult to find the answer to it. But I ask the Chief Minister: You talked about the survey, which I understand cost $10,443.76. It is good to know the detail of that expenditure. You suggested that they would be looking at the priority that would be given to setting up this service. Could you tell us the results of that survey? What was the recommendation from that survey about the service?

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