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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 983 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

out into the community in a proactive way and do an assessment of the needs there. The process is conducted slightly at random because we receive a number of submissions in response to an advertisement about there being a consultation process, but that gives us an incomplete picture of the actual needs as only the people and organisations with the capacity, will and commitment to go ahead and make a submission will be the ones represented in this report.

Mr Smyth has chosen to raise a couple of submissions and say that we need to look at them as being of particular importance, but I am saying that we need to make clear to the government, as we have done as a committee in this report, that we do not see this report as a comprehensive picture of the need in the ACT. We have asked the government to undertake a detailed analysis of community need. For us to have done that, we would have had to have gone out in a much more proactive way. We certainly did not do that; we did not have the time to do so. I say again that this report gives a very incomplete picture of the need. Nevertheless, the submissions that came in are important and worthy of consideration.

The general themes that came out through this process were consistent in that they did present a persuasive case for the importance of the community sector as an efficient and cost-effective vehicle for the provision of health services. The committee has been supportive in its report of efforts to integrate service provision and to take a broad approach to treating health problems, recognising that social, cultural and economic factors may be at least as important as clinical factors.

The committee also has expressed its support for the development of a social plan based on sound data and a variety of needs mapping exercises. We also supported the fundamental need to reduce and minimise the need for institutional care and excessive medicalisation of health issues. We believe that early intervention programs, health promotion, education programs, transitional facilities and community care programs must be adequately supported. The committee made the comment that such programs have to be properly supported if they are to provide improved health outcomes in the long term.

On the question of broader unmet community needs, I have explained that the picture is incomplete. An example of that is that we did not get one submission on the question of support for children with a disability in special schools. A report on a review of therapy services for school students with a disability was produced in August 2001. It is a comprehensive document that clearly points to underresourcing in the area of therapy services. I would assume and hope that the government will be seriously looking at this area. Work in the area has produced the report that I have just mentioned and the responsibility of government is to take that broad approach and look at the issues of broader unmet need. That is a very good example of how the picture we have presented in this report is incomplete.

As I said, the committee, while not making recommendations, did choose to make very supportive statements on a number of broad areas. One was the development of a social plan; we certainly supported that. We also supported the need for a review of the purchaser-provider model used for community services in the ACT. The government has announced that it will review that model. We support such a review occurring and will take an interest in continuing to monitor that area. The committee has supported the need

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