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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (5 September) . . Page.. 3182 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

That did not stop Ms Tucker today coming out and indicating that these serious allegations were the truth, that they must be the truth. I think she actually said that it is quite obvious that I, the Minister, have failed these people. Does that indicate that they could be allegations? Does that indicate for one moment that these statements about staff and clients - - -

Ms Tucker: I talked about allegations. It says "allegations".

MRS CARNELL: That is a straight quote from your press release.

Ms Tucker: Allegations to be substantiated by the Health Complaints Commissioner.

MRS CARNELL: Spot on: Allegations to be substantiated in a proper inquiry situation. What we have, very definitely, is a proper procedure, a procedure that is improving regularly, a situation that is substantially better than it was when we started to deinstitutionalise a number of years ago, one that is improving and is one of the best in Australia.

Ms Reilly said that people in these houses somehow did not know what complaints mechanisms or complaints approaches were available to them. I am informed that there is a notice up in every house telling them exactly what they have to do if they want to complain. It is nicely up there on the wall already, Ms Reilly. There are no problems there at all. I am told that there are monthly OH and S meetings. I am told that every region has an OH and S representative and they meet on a monthly basis to talk about these sorts of issues.

Ms Reilly also made the comment that necessary supplies were not provided. I have said in this place, so often lately that I am sounding like a broken record, that necessary protective gloves, detergent, disposable paper towels, cleaning materials, plastic aprons - all those things - are provided to the houses. The things that need to be bought out of the housekeeping budget - not the food budget, as Ms Tucker likes to call it, but the housekeeping budget - are things that you would expect to come out of anyone's housekeeping budget, the sorts of things you use to clean surfaces, the sorts of things you use for normal everyday housekeeping. Special equipment that is needed for special houses is provided from central stores. The decision on whether extra equipment is needed is made by the people who work in the houses, people who know what is happening in those houses.

Yes, there are some people who are not happy. There will always be people who are not happy in any service such as the disability support area. There are people who have significant problems in that area. Our service does everything in its power to ensure that people are in houses with people they get on with, and so on. Ms Reilly, we do not move their bedrooms; we do not make them move around in houses without consulting them. In fact, we very rarely make them move at all because their bedrooms are their own. They have their own furniture there. It is their home. Why would a service require people to move without asking them?

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