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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1613 ..

MR STEFANIAK: None that I have been advised of, Mr Rugendyke. It seems to have been progressing as it should. The time frames I have indicated seem to be on line with what Mr Wheeler told me on Tuesday.

COOOL houses

MR WOOD: My question is to Mr Moore, the minister for health and community care. Minister, as you well know, the COOOL houses, that is Canberra's own options of living houses, were constructed for younger people with disabilities caused by conditions such as multiple sclerosis. People were living in inappropriate circumstances, generally in nursing homes for the elderly. This inappropriate housing has often caused an even quicker decline in their health. Minister, I understand that at present there are at least two vacancies in COOOL houses, one at Macquarie and one at Fisher. As I am aware of at least one person who would be much more appropriately housed in a COOOL house than in the present nursing home, would your department facilitate that transfer, and could you advise me of how this would be done?

MR MOORE: I thank Mr Wood for the question. I think one of the problems we have had with the COOOL houses, with the wisdom of hindsight, is that when they were originally established quite a number of people from nursing homes who required nursing home care wound up in the COOOL houses and required within the COOOL houses that sort of 24 hours a day management and care. They were, in my view, inappropriately placed in the COOOL houses. Whilst you may make a judgment that a person who was previously in a COOOL house is of approximately the same sort of condition as somebody who would now like to go into a COOOL house, it is my judgment and the judgment of Community Care and the department that a number of people who have been proposed for COOOL houses are in fact cared for far better in a nursing home.

That having been said, Mr Speaker, I think it is also worth pointing out that we are currently in a process of renegotiation on how to deal with support services for residents of the Macquarie and Fisher houses. Since the department is undertaking a comprehensive planning process with residents of Macquarie and a tender process for support service for residents of Fisher, it is problematic to fill vacancies at this time. I think it is imperative that current processes are finalised to focus on the issues at hand, and specifically the outcomes for the current residents. Those two factors are being taken into account at the moment.

MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question. Mr Moore might agree to send me all the information he can about those processes I was asking about, the processes of review he mentioned. Minister, I am not sure about this, so I am asking you. I thought there was an agreement between the ACT and the Commonwealth that in exchange for capital funds for building those, or some support for building them, the ACT would accept people from nursing homes into the COOOL houses. Would you refresh my memory on that? Would you make it clear that you are not simply trying to avoid the cost, presently carried by the Commonwealth, for people in nursing homes, which might be picked up if these people go into the COOOL homes?

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