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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 359 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

ministers who actually want to be a public servant, Mr Speaker; I would prefer to be the minister and allow the public servants to do what they are paid to do.

Convalescent facilities

MR CORNWELL: My question is to the Chief Minister as Minister for Health. In your reply to my question on notice No 4, Mr Stanhope, concerning nursing home beds, you advised me that there were 254 residential places that are dementia specific. In reply to my question on notice No 5, you advised me that individual facilities may hold dementia specific waiting lists and that, in fact, the aged care assessment team itself did not hold a consolidated list of dementia sufferers requiring places. Why doesn't ACAT hold such a list? Why is it left to individual facilities who may-your word, "may"-hold such a list? Why doesn't ACAT do so?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Cornwell, for the question. It is a very good question. Of course, it goes to issues around the divergent responsibilities between the Commonwealth and the ACT. When I go back to my department to get the fine detail in answer to your question, Mr Cornwell, I will ask them why the previous government didn't bother to do that over the last seven years. I will start the answer in that sort of contextual way so that we will actually get some understanding of why you didn't bother to do anything over the last seven years in relation to the issue of aged care in the ACT. It would probably be a good starting point-to actually work out why it is in relation to aged care, along with just about everything else, we have had to pick up the mess that you left us.

Of course, there are a whole range of issues in relation to which we are picking up the mess. My colleague Mr Quinlan, in the appropriation bill that he introduced this morning, actually gave notice of some of the other legacies of yours that we have been left to try to clear up. What was that CTEC bill you were left with?

Mr Quinlan: $31/2 million.

MR STANHOPE: $31/2 million from CTEC we were left with.

I will take some aspects of the question on notice, but it was a very fulsome answer I gave to your question, Mr Cornwell; you will admit, a very fulsome answer. Certainly in regard to the assessment teams, I think you actually need to have some understanding of the relative responsibilities of both the Commonwealth and the ACT and the overall responsibility of ACAT. ACAT does not take bookings; ACAT assesses individual's needs and requirements. It is not a booking agency; it is not appropriate that assessment teams actually maintain a list of vacancies.

I take the point. It is a serious issue that you raise-the issue of the ageing population that we have in the ACT and the fact that, despite the fact that we are the youngest population in Australia, we have a significant, emerging problem in relation to available beds for aged care. We have a significant problem, that each of us knows, in relation to appropriate care for people with psycho-geriatric issues. We have a range of very concerning issues in relation to aged care. And of course it is not getting easier.

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