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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 462 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

When Ms Tucker, as chair of the Social Policy Committee, brought down her report last year, like all members, no doubt, I read it carefully because I think it is one of the more significant reports that have been produced in the nine years of this Assembly. Now that I am chair of a committee that handles some of the aspects in that report, in the last two weeks I have gone back and read it more carefully, making notes of areas where I believe the committee I chair can follow up. So, Mr Moore, you and I will be working together. We will have Mr Hird on side, too, because he also is a member of that committee.

There are gaps. Mr Hird, reading what I suppose was a Government brief, said that the Government is unable to meet all the circumstances that arise. I am sorry to hear that that has been acknowledged. For those in this chamber - I think it is most of us - who have become involved in all the areas raised by this report, there are demands that simply have to be met, and it is our job to see that they are. It is our job to do that quickly. There has been some ongoing debate between Ms Tucker and Mr Hird about how quickly. Mr Hird said that reports are coming through, that those reports will be dealt with and that we will move ahead. I think the case of substitute care for children was a specific example. The reports are sound and they should proceed. As Ms Tucker said a little while ago, we do not need reports to know that a child in substitute care needs counselling. We do not need a long, considered report to tell us that. We know that. Let us act on it.

I do not need a report to tell me that there are people in this community who are desperate for respite care. The demands are enormous and the strains on some people are quite intolerable. We do not need a report to tell us that. I am tracking around agencies to be told, "Sorry, we have no money. We have exhausted our supply. There is nothing left". Steps have to be taken immediately. So I do express some concern at suggestions that things are moving well and we are doing the best we can. I trust that it was not from Mr Moore's department that Mr Hird's brief was produced. The new Minister's approach is certainly the one that I will be hooking onto. I look forward to working with him, Mr Rugendyke and Mr Hird on our committee to see that things move a good deal faster than they may have moved for a very long period.

Debate (on motion by Mr Rugendyke) adjourned.


Motion (by Mr Humphries) agreed to:

That Executive business be called on forthwith.

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