Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 120 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
I think it is worth members keeping in mind that this project has an operational budget of nearly $700,000 - in fact, it is $698,000 - per annum, and the support service provider is expected to deliver the service within budget. We do that in every single area of the Government. Additional allocations for establishment costs and personal equipment will be included in the contract price, but will be additional to the operational funding. We are talking about nearly $700,000 of funding; in other words, almost - but not quite - $100,000 per individual in these houses for a year. It is a not insignificant sum of money. But, at the same time, we recognise that there are huge difficulties in ensuring that these people have some chance to live in a reasonable way, which is the very reason for taking them out of a nursing home.
A series of meetings have been held - more are planned - with the group, with the Community Advocate as facilitator. They have been going on even quite recently, with Mr Humphries speaking to Mr Maurer as late as within the last half-hour. We are prepared, as we were in the past, to provide information about the various models and to undertake a series of assessments. It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that the complex issues involved in dealing with these people have not been resolved and the time period has simply been much too long. Most of us would be aware of some of the reasons behind that. Mr Wood has put his finger on those. But, to be fair to the department, it was the department that commissioned Michael Kendrick to do the review, to ask them what is going wrong, and to see whether we can get a solution. So, when Michael Kendrick comes back and says, "Yes, you have some problems; there is some mismanagement here", the department should take credit for it, because it said, "Yes, we know that we have some problems. Tell us what they are and how to fix them". I see that there is a strong, positive will on the part of the department, or on the part of a series of people, to ensure that we can resolve this urgently.
Now, what does "urgently" mean? Mr Wood, within a matter of weeks, we shall try to deal with the people who are less difficult, who are in a position to know that they are prepared to live together, for whom we can resolve some of these problems. What I am seeking to do is to resolve the problems with the first house before we come back into this Assembly to sit again. That is going to be my goal. I think that meets your motion when it talks about "a matter of urgency". In terms of the much more complicated issues with the second set of houses, I shall seek to resolve them within a matter of some months. The issues there, I am advised, are much more difficult, much more complex; but I shall be doing my best. I take this matter very seriously. I see this issue as still having a series of complexities. The department is of the view, which I support, that it does not involve itself in issues, except where it can be shown that the decisions have implications for the financial viability of the service or where the department or service provider is not prepared to accept the level of risk associated with maintaining its duty of care regarding the health and safety of staff, residents or potential residents.
I am committed, and so is the department, to ensuring that the prospective COOOL residents effectively participate in decision-making and that their views are accorded equal status with those of others involved in the project's decision-making. I think that the issue of institutionalisation is the very issue that you are talking about. One of the things which show that we are moving away from an institutionalised environment is that people