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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3267 ..

MR BERRY: I have a supplementary question. Minister, is an estimate available of the lost production which will result from the conveyor being down until 31 December? We have been told that it will not be starting again until 31 December.

MR HUMPHRIES: I do not have an estimate at the moment. If there is one, I will obtain it and provide that information to members. As I have said, the rock is still being transported, but by truck rather than by conveyor belt.

Geriatric care facilities

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services. In July the minister said he would be arguing for the establishment in the ACT of high-level psycho-geriatric care facilities if he could be convinced there was a need. He said he would approach the federal Minister for Aged Care, Mrs Bishop.

A media release from Mrs Bishop dated 12 December last year announced the provision of $2.6 million in recurrent Commonwealth funding for such facilities to all states and territories-except the ACT. Can the minister tell the Assembly why the ACT did not receive any of this funding when all other jurisdictions did? Can he say if the ACT made any application for funding under this Commonwealth program and, if not, why not?

MR MOORE: We did, indeed. In fact, Mr Humphries and I went to meet Mrs Bishop and drew her attention to the fact that we were the only jurisdiction without support for psycho-geriatric facilities. She drew our attention to the fact that this was not physical support. The funding you are talking about is for advising people about how to handle psycho-geriatric cases rather than for facilities. The Chief Minister argued strongly, as did I, that it would be appropriate for us to have a share of that money and have financial assistance in this way. Again, when I met the minister at our conference in Adelaide, I raised the same issue with her. In fact, I sat next to her at dinner and also used that opportunity to raise the matter.

However, the minister was quite firm that the ACT would not receive that style of money for psycho-geriatric facilities. What she did do was agree that we would be one of two jurisdictions to be given assistance for a more lateral solution with regard to nursing home beds. I announced those at the time we met in Adelaide. That was a direct outcome of the meeting the Chief Minister and I had with Mrs Bishop.

The only other minister who had a meeting like that was Dean Brown, the Minister for Human Services in South Australia, who came to Canberra and sought a meeting with her and, as I understand it, Dr Wooldridge. They also received some acknowledgment in a package. Mrs Bishop actually released a bigger package and said to other ministers that there was still money there for other people who are using lateral solutions for dealing with it, and they would find some money.

We have worked particularly hard, not only at a departmental level but also at a personal level, to get these outcomes. This is a good opportunity for me, on behalf of Canberrans, to thank the Chief Minister for using his good offices and his relationship with Mrs Bishop to get those outcomes.

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