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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3141 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Minister, appeared to be endorsing this push for self-determination. The residents were given $5,000, a token amount, to assist them in developing a tender, from scratch, to cover their own care. Can the Minister advise the Assembly whether it is true that the residents' tender has been unsuccessful? Can he also tell the Assembly whether it is true that they are being given no other choices and that in fact the panel that assessed their tender has already signed off the contract to Community Care for two years? Can he tell us whether it is true that the residents are appealing against this decision? Subject to his answers to those questions, can he confirm that today staff at Community Care are being offered two-year contracts to provide care for these people? If so, what does that mean for the appeal process that the residents have instituted?

MR SPEAKER: There are five questions there, Mr Moore.

MR MOORE: Yes, there are five questions and I am aware of the standing orders, Mr Speaker. At the same time I think we would agree that Mr Stanhope is trying to get an understanding of the COOOL house and the issues. I will take on notice the last part of the question. I am not aware of whether there is an appeal or not, Mr Stanhope. I will take that on notice and come back to you. It will have to be next week now, although I would be happy to answer that question by phone if I get information about it as well.

As you know, from the time the COOOL houses were established, I have been very keen to see that self-determination, if at all possible, be the way that these houses are managed. We have been able to manage that within the Fisher houses. There has been a concern raised with regard to the COOOL houses in Macquarie that self-determination will not be in the best interests of all the residents concerned. The concern is to ensure that we can protect the interests of the range of residents there.

Mr Stanhope, I do not have to take this on notice after all. I have a note here. There is an appeal in process, through the chief executive of the Department of Health and Community Care, apparently.

This is, of course, a difficult situation. We would like to say that we can support self-determination there. The fact that we provided $5,000 for them to be able to put a tender forward is an indication that we are interested in self-determination. But we also have a very broad responsibility and we have to make sure that we can look after all the residents within that area. The panel that assessed those tenders determined that self-determination would mean a particular problem for particular residents in those two houses.

The advice to me is that those houses are not yet ready for self-determination and still need a substantial amount of work before they will be ready. I should also point out that it was a unanimous decision of the panel. I asked whether it was possible then to allow significant involvement of the residents in the decision-making processes that affect them, and could we see an ever-increasing involvement in the decision-making processes so that all the residents are able to be looked after in a careful way.

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