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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2717 ..

Ministerial Statement

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister): I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on ministerial meetings in Hobart in July 1996.

Leave granted.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I am pleased to report on the outcomes of the ministerial meetings in Hobart at the beginning of July 1996. The meetings that occurred in Hobart included the Health and Community Services Ministerial Council, the Australian Health Ministers Conference, the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council, the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, and a Disability Services Ministers meeting. Many of the outcomes of these meetings will be reported to the planned November 1996 meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, COAG. The depth and breadth of the issues covered at these meetings will be self-evident in the report to be presented. I believe that the ACT has proven to be instrumental in driving many of the reforms that will be significant at a national level. This is particularly true of initiatives in the areas of the coordinated care trials and drug policy, including the heroin trial.

At the Health and Community Services Ministerial Council meeting, some key issues were discussed and decisions made. The ACT will be participating in the health and community services reforms that are currently occurring at a national level. The reforms will address issues such as simplification of roles and responsibility for service planning and provision through the levels of government; the implementation of nationally agreed policies and programs to allow States and Territories greater flexibility to develop strategies and responses to meet objectives; individuals' access to information through which to choose the most appropriate services; and ensuring that the focus in service planning, provision and financing is on consumer needs and that a person's care, recovery and convalescence are not hindered by such factors as cost shifting between governments. This will allow the Australian health system to function in a more focused and efficient way. It is an approach that acknowledges the unique position of the ACT and its particular needs. It will give the ACT increased flexibility to be able to focus on outcomes and performance.

Ministers decided that a work program and consultation strategy be taken forward by a working party of senior chief executive officers from each jurisdiction and that it be reported on in October. There will also be the development of a work plan relating to disability services, a paper on child care flowing from a resolution of Community Services Ministers, and a report on bringing the supported accommodation assistance program and related services into the COAG process.

Of particular importance is the decision to link the findings of the review of the Commonwealth-State Disability Agreement with the goals of the COAG reforms. As part of the COAG reform process, a number of coordinated care trials have been proposed to examine the effectiveness of a coordinated approach in improving health outcomes, within existing resources, of clients who require substantial amounts of care from a range of care providers. The ACT is the first jurisdiction to sign an agreement

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