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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3142 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Just as society as a whole has to be aware of and look after any group of disabled people, there is a smaller group within this group that are particularly vulnerable. My advice is that the process would leave those vulnerable people even more vulnerable. Therefore I have accepted the unanimous advice of the panel and allowed the process to proceed that would award the contracts to Community Care for another two years. As there is an appeal process in place, I certainly will be interested in looking at the outcome of that process. I am told in my advice here that the appeal process is to the chief executive of the Department of Health and Community Care, so I will take further advice on that.

MR STANHOPE: I thank the Minister for his response to that question. I note that the Minister has taken part of the question on notice. Perhaps I can add this particular concern which I was going to raise in my supplementary question to part of the information that he might later provide to the Assembly. My understanding, Minister, is that a majority of the residents and their carers or guardians are today very distressed and very angry at the failure of their efforts to achieve this level of self-determination which you and your department have espoused and apparently supported in the past. Minister, in your response, could you advise the Assembly of the steps that you will take to assuage the concerns of the majority of residents, and the steps you will put in place to ensure that they do have some involvement in determining their own lives?

MR MOORE: Mr Stanhope, I did say I would take something on notice but I then found the answer and have given you an answer. My understanding is that there is no issue that I have on notice at the moment. I am happy to take something else on notice if you advise my office afterwards, or if there is something I have missed. I was asked whether there was an appeal process in place. Yes, there is an appeal process in place. That was the answer to the question.

I think the fundamental issue here is not about the majority. I understand what the majority feel. I understand that the majority of the residents and the majority of the carers have that view. We have a broader and much more important issue to deal with, and it is not an easy issue. We must make sure that we also protect the minority of these very vulnerable people. Do not forget that almost everybody in these two houses we are talking about is incredibly vulnerable. I take very seriously the responsibility of making sure that we look after each and every one of them.

I assure you that we will do everything that we can, as you have implied in your question, to involve them in the decision-making processes. I will encourage the people in the Department of Community Care who are there looking after people to make sure that as part of that process they make sure that they are involved as much as possible in the decision-making processes.

Mr Stanhope: I want to raise a point of order. There was a further question which the Minister did not answer. Minister, I assumed that you had undertaken to take it on notice. If it is true that an appeal has been lodged today, I did ask you on what basis did the Department of Community Care today offer to you contracts to provide care for the people - - -

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