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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2701 ..

ACTION Bus Services

MR OSBORNE: My question is to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as the Minister responsible for ACTION buses. Minister, last week it was confirmed that ACTION is planning to cancel the morning school bus for Gordon Primary School, the excuse being that the bus is only half full.

Mr Moore: It was actually half empty.

MR OSBORNE: Well, half empty. Mr De Domenico, given that this area of Tuggeranong has a growing primary school population, how on earth could you consider getting rid of this service, instead of promoting and encouraging its use?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Mr Osborne for his question. If Mr Osborne would like to give me the details of the route number and everything, I will look into it for him. I am aware that, every year so far as I am aware, ACTION go out and look before they bring out the various networks, to make sure that all networks are topped up as need be. If Mr Osborne gives me the complete details, I will look into the matter for him, Mr Speaker.

Disability Services - Protective Equipment Purchases

MS TUCKER: My question is to Mrs Carnell as Minister for Health and Community Care. Some parents have been very upset about payment procedures for protective equipment for protection against infection in group houses for people with a disability. It seems that protective equipment is sometimes or often paid for out of general food money or household expenses. The department's policy, according to a memo you sent me last week, is that houses can always purchase protective equipment through stores and that this will be paid for by Disability Services if the house has high needs. I was recently given a copy of a notice to regional managers from the Department of Health and Community Care instructing them to monitor the use of this payment procedure because too many houses were buying disinfectant in this way and it should be paid for as a food item unless the house has high needs. Staff obviously are in a difficult position if the requirement to purchase disinfectant means that food money is short. This indeed was the complaint of some parents who have contacted me. Can the Minister explain exactly what is the procedure for assessing the needs of a house, so that the house and the staff can know whether they are or are not regarded as high needs and therefore can access this procedure; and are staff consulted?

MRS CARNELL: The issue of determining what is an appropriate expense and what is not in one of the houses for people with disabilities is often a very difficult one, Mr Speaker. What we have to understand, and sometimes I think Ms Tucker does not understand, is that these houses are residential facilities. They are the houses in which these people live, certainly with some support from the Government. That means that they have a number of the same sorts of obligations and requirements as people in

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