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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 178 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

problems - a complex array of problems which need to be addressed - rather than individuals who simply need to be locked away because they have a particular dysfunctionality which is imposing upon the rest of the community. That is very much, Mr Speaker, the ambition that the Government has for an ACT gaol. If it is not able to focus on correction and rehabilitation, particularly as far as drug-related problems are concerned, then the effort on a new gaol would have been totally wasted, or substantially wasted.

Mr Speaker, the problems are complex and varied. We do not run away from these problems. We can see that there are areas where our performance could be better. Mr Stefaniak has indicated that the large range of issues and areas being covered by this portfolio necessarily mean that not everything is going to be done to the same level of quality. But the people working in this area are doing a tremendous job. I want to finish by paying tribute to the quality of their effort and indicating very clearly that the community is well served by those individuals. With some failings, they are doing a great job, and we in the Government need to lift our effort to support them in that work.

MR SPEAKER: The time for the discussion has expired.


Debate resumed from 19 November 1998, on motion by Mr Moore:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (5.23): Mr Speaker, the Labor Party is very happy to support this legislation. The Minister advised us in his presentation speech on this Bill that there are some 300 patients on the New South Wales Eye Bank waiting list for corneal transplants. A significant number of those waiting are from the ACT and our region. We are all aware that it is a very difficult decision for families to approve the removal of organs from the body of a deceased family member. Once that decision is made, we as a community should do all we can to ensure that organs are retrieved and available for those needing them.

This Bill addresses a block in the retrieval of corneas. Our current legislation allows only doctors to remove human tissue from a dead person. I understand that the practical effect of that requirement is to limit the number of corneas retrieved; but, as a result of the provisions that we currently have in place, we risk not being able to retrieve as many corneas as optimally we might. The Bill allows for a trained health professional to seek the approval of family members and to retrieve corneas. It is expected that this will increase the number of corneas available for transplantation.

I understand that there are strict rules in place for the accrediting of the health professionals that will be permitted under this legislation to undertake this procedure. It is only appropriate that we do ensure that anybody working in this area is appropriately trained. The legislation is good legislation and the Labor Party is more than happy to support it.

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