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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3447 ..

Inquiry - Respite Care Services in the ACT

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I ask for leave to make a statement regarding a new inquiry to be undertaken by the Standing Committee on Health and Community Care.

Leave granted.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the Assembly that on 4 December 1998, after some consideration of the issues, the Standing Committee on Health and Community Care resolved to inquire into and report on the provision of respite care services in the ACT, with particular reference to:

(1) the needs of people and their carers;

(2) the availability of services;

(3) the extent of unmet need;

(4) the coordination of services, the continuity of care and the choice and type of services (including post school options); and

(5) any other related matter.

Mr Speaker, I am sure that all members, as we move around the community, come across many people in Canberra who live in the most difficult circumstances. Yesterday we discussed the needs of the disabled - the physically disabled, the intellectually disabled or the physically and intellectually disabled - the frail aged, dysfunctional families and so on. Government agencies provide much good support to these people, whether directly through their own services or through community bodies. Of course, this assistance is essential.

Respite care is just one area of that assistance, addressed by care being given both to affected people and to their carers. Yet, as I move around, I hear people who provide these services and people who receive these services talking of confusion, difficulty and the like. This inquiry will focus on the provision of respite care.

I do not expect to come back to this Assembly with a shopping list. I realise the realities of the situation. I want to explore the difficulties and see what options there are, but I do not anticipate a long list of recommendations that may not be possible of being met. I am confident that members will be interested in the report.

I want to make one further statement, and it is about the role of committees. The way the committees will operate is not resolved finally as the recommendations of the Pettit inquiry are still being examined. There was one claim, one suggestion, that committees should mirror portfolios. It is my view that they should not be restricted.

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