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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3620 ..

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I will take that question on notice as well. But I have to say it is a very strange thing we do in this Assembly when somebody says, "I'll take something on notice," and there is a supplementary to the words "I'll take that on notice".

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, the minister can take his choice: he can either take it on notice or put out a press release.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Minister, I do appreciate what you said, but it is no stranger than during questions without notice somebody rising and saying, "I have already spoken to the minister on this matter."

Nursing home beds or high-needs beds

MR WOOD: It is with some trepidation that I ask this question of Mr Moore, because, since I want some data, there has been a notification given. Can I apologise, Mr Speaker. Mr Moore seems to think not. I did contact Mr Moore's office this morning. You may have something there, Minister.

My question concerns nursing home beds. This is a bit of a problem around Australia. I want to see what the ACT situation is, if you can tell me. Basically, I would like to know how many nursing home beds or high-needs beds have been allocated to the ACT by the Commonwealth; that is, how many we are entitled to at the moment. You might know how many are filled. But the problem that may be there is: how many have been allocated to the ACT but have not been built? Maybe we are searching for organisations to take up those offers. What is the gap, if there is one, please, Minister?

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I have to say I am very reluctant to answer this question because it is inconsistent with standing orders. I will explain why. Mr Speaker, I do not have responsibility for nursing home beds; that is a Commonwealth responsibility.

There are some areas of ageing and nursing homes that I do have responsibility for. The aged care assessment team is part of my responsibility. We can have some indications from that-though we know the sort of people involved-of how the assessments are done. They are normally done within three days. We know that currently the waiting list for nursing home placements has approximately 50 people on it. I can indicate that.

Mr Speaker, the reason I am reluctant to take on Mrs Bishop's responsibility is that I don't want to confuse the minds of people outside about just whose responsibility it is. One of the great dangers is that the federal government is particularly adept at cost-shifting towards the state and territory governments, and we always have to be very guarded about it.

Mr Speaker, I am happy to provide for Mr Wood a briefing on the information that we are able to access but I am very reluctant to publicly comment on issues that are Mrs Bishop's responsibility.

MR WOOD: Thank you, Minister. I find that a bit strange, I have to say. I will take up your offer. I take it to mean that you have the information. I am happy to receive it. I think it is important that the ACT knows what the circumstances are.

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