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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2800 ..

ACTEW - Privatisation

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a short statement to correct an impression I may have created in an answer in question time.

Leave granted.

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. In question time I may have inadvertently suggested to the Assembly that Mr Berry had corrected his new brochure. Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, his brochure is still wrong. He only corrected the middle bit, and he left the wrong figures on the back. So it seems that Mr Berry might have to withdraw the second brochure. I am sorry if I indicated to the Assembly that the second brochure might not have been wrong. So, if he has not withdrawn the first brochure, Mr Speaker, it would be a good idea if he now withdrew the second brochure and accepted that financial credibility is something that really you cannot aspire to if you do not have it. You should probably give up.

Independent Living Centre

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I took a question on notice from Mr Hargreaves last week. Mr Hargreaves asked me whether I could confirm that the Government has imposed an entry charge to the Independent Living Centre and whether I could check when the charge was imposed and that it is $5 and $2 for pensioners; who decided on this; and what was the rationale. He also asked me to advise whether a disabled person must make an appointment before visiting the centre.

My answer is as follows, Mr Speaker: The Independent Living Centre provides advice, assessment and information on aids and equipment. The centre undertook a review of its fees and charges and introduced new fees for some of its services, including a $5 entry fee for the general public and a $2 fee for pension or health care card holders and students. Mr Speaker, I signed off on the determination for these fees and charges on 13 August 1998 and they were gazetted on 9 September 1998 in Gazette No. 36. As you are aware, all determinations of fees and charges are provided to the Assembly by the Gazette Office.

The rationale was based on the need to offset some of the costs associated with providing service. This is the critical part, Mr Speaker: The Independent Living Centre is partially funded by the home and community care program, the HACC program. It is part of the requirements of the funding arrangements for that program that service providers are expected to charge fees to partially offset the service provision.

I understand the people with disabilities are required to make an appointment before visiting the centre if their needs are of a complex nature. This allows the centre to provide adequate time and support to these clients. The centre also has a drop-in service every day, and clients and/or their carers can access the centre and receive information and view equipment. Appointments are required for more detailed advice and assessment.

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