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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1253 ..

Administration and Procedure-Standing Committee


MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (4.44): Mr Deputy Speaker, pursuant to standing order 223, I move:

That Mr Hargreaves be discharged from attending the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure during his absence on parliamentary business between 11 May and 27 May 2002 and that Ms MacDonald be appointed in his place.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Board of inquiry into disability services


Debate resumed.

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (4.45): Mr Deputy Speaker, this is unquestionably one of the most significant reports to come before the Assembly. It compares, in different respects, with the Bruce Stadium report and the hospital implosion report in being a very weighty document requiring a large amount of time to work through and to present.

Mr Humphries mentioned that it had been commissioned under pressure. He was underplaying it somewhat: it was commissioned under very considerable pressure. He noted that the avenue of an Assembly committee undertaking that work was not considered. As chair, at the time, of the relevant committee, I can say that it was deemed-on my part, at any rate-to be an exercise beyond the time and the resources that that committee had. In the event, with the very large number of witnesses and the extensive hearings, I think my view was correct.

Mr Humphries said that it is ironic that it is now the Labor Party as a government that has to respond to the report. I would suggest that it is fortunate that we are here to respond to it. One thing missed by Mr Humphries-and I believe missed in the Gallop report-is the very large number of problems that it raised. Given what the media is today, it was inevitable that the focus immediately went onto the bureaucrats who had been named. That is what most of the debate has been on, has it not?

I believe the community would have been well informed if some of those problems had also been well examined in the accounts that the bureaucrats gave. Gallop divided those problems into two sorts: the generic ones-or the systemic ones, if you like-and the problems raised by particular people who came to his committee. At both those levels the concerns were truly alarming.

It has generally been said that the Gallop report was commissioned because of the three deaths in group homes. I contest that point of view; I do not agree with it entirely. They were certainly a significant factor, but we were getting accounts of very much more than that. If it had only been the three deaths, a simple-or complex-coroner's inquiry

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