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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 358 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

In relation to the process which I have already announced and which I will give some greater detail of: I have created an office of disability in the department of health. I have established a disability reform group.

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: my question does not relate to the disability program; it relates to the employment of contractors to do consultancy work. My question is whether you have a preference for interstate contractors; it does not relate to disability services in particular.

MR STANHOPE: It does relate to disability services precisely. The two consultants that I have arranged to be engaged are, indeed, Ms Anne Cross and Mr Mick Reid. Mr Mick Reid, of course, a former director-general and head of the department of health in New South Wales, is eminently qualified and has been engaged by the government, once again, to further some of the recommendations of the Gallop report and to report to me on a matter that is of interest to me and has been of interest to me for some time-namely, governance, structural and administrative issues in relation to the delivery of health services generally in the ACT. We have employed two of the most, I think, knowledgable and respected people possible in relation to those two tasks. I do not apologise for that.

Certainly, this government will continue to employ experts and consultants from time to time to assist in furthering our policies and our programs in order to ensure that we meet our agenda. We have never said that we wouldn't. And we won't. Of course, we will look to the best advice possible.

I referred earlier, Mr Speaker, to the fact that I had, as part of this arrangement, established a disability reform group to work with Ms Cross and the office of disability to take forward issues in relation to the Gallop report. I just seek the Assembly's indulgence to acknowledge the presence in the Assembly gallery of one of the co-chairs of the disability reform group, Mr Dennis Stabback.

MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. It relates to consultancies contracted by the government-not in disability services. In fact, it relates to the love-in that the Labor ministers had at the Carrington Hotel, I understand, a couple of weeks ago.

Mr Hargreaves: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order.

MR SPEAKER: I know what your point of order is. I can read your mind. We won't have a preamble, will we.

MRS DUNNE: Were local facilitators given the opportunity to contract for that job? What was the cost of the consultants engaged as facilitators? Did they come from the ACT or interstate?

MR STANHOPE: I will have to take aspects of that on notice too, Mr Speaker. I have to say, in relation to the arrangements for the meeting that was held by the government, that I simply delegated all aspects of the facilitating of that process to the head of my department, Mr Rob Tonkin. So I will take advice from him. I am not one of those

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