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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (29 April) . . Page.. 122 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

The report has referred to mishandling by the Department of Health and Community Care. I am reliably informed that the original draft of the report referred to mishandling by the Government. I guess that, under the Westminster system, they are one and the same thing, and they should be recognised as such. As well as hastening the process, it is incumbent upon the Government to see that the full list of recommendations is acted upon. A common theme through the report was that these houses tended to replicate institutions and tended to become just small institutions, and that, in fact, the options that were available were very limited. I know that they are only words; but I was just a little bit concerned to still hear in Mr Moore's response such terms as "dealing with these people" and "people meeting these criteria".

I do not want to dwell on the subject for too long. In conclusion, I would like to observe that there was not a lot in Mr Moore's response about the options. While we are happy to hear about urgent attention to placement, there must also be urgent attention to the full spectrum of recommendations, and in particular to the transferring of day-to-day management of this project to a normal community governance body. The original and repeated references to mismanagement, institutionalisation and treating people rather as a commodity, I think, are the main themes of this report that ought to be acted upon. They require urgent attention, as does the placement of people.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (11.15): Mr Speaker, I am, of course, the Minister who has, in the last 48 hours or so, handed over this matter to my successor. I have had some opportunity during my short tenure in that position this time around to be able to examine some of these issues. I have to confess at the outset that I am not sure that I was able in that time to get to the bottom of all the issues that made up this very complex matter. However, I have, I think, formed some views about where this ought to go.

As such, I think there is value in supporting the motion which has been put before the Assembly today, although it is important to acknowledge that the urgency referred to in the motion is a matter that is relative to the complexity of the issues that have to be dealt with in this matter. Mr Wood spoke about the residents' expectation that, the houses having been finished one day, they would move in the next.

Mr Berry: Let go, Gary. You are not the Minister anymore. Let go. Take it on the chin.

MR HUMPHRIES: That is another outstandingly considered and conciliatory contribution from Mr Berry.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Background information has never stopped anybody speaking in this place before. Continue, Mr Minister.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, let me say that the Assembly has, obviously, a broad brief on overviewing the activity and the work of the Government. It certainly has a role to play in overviewing matters in elements of which, according to the report which we have on the table - the Kendrick report - there have been shortcomings in the way they have been brought forward to this stage.

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