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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1279 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The committee recommends that the Government ensure that people undertaking assessments for respite care have the necessary skills and training to accurately identify need levels and service requirements ...

I have spoken about this already and the recommendation is similar to recommendation 11.

There is no doubt that we all know there is a quite critical need to be looking at support for people who suffer from diseases such as dementia. Mrs Bruce, whose husband has to be accommodated in Goulburn, has been very vocal and courageous in raising these issues and we well understand her situation. I spent a day with Mrs Bruce and visited her husband. For me, it was an experience that personalised in a very powerful way what we are talking about today in this Assembly. The pain of the separation for Mrs Bruce was very evident. I know that Mr Stanhope is attempting to assist with transport to Goulburn and so on, but there are also other people in Goulburn who are isolated from their families in Canberra-families that have not felt confident enough to speak publicly about the situation.

If we regard ourselves as a compassionate and humane society, we have to give this question a high priority. So I am absolutely supportive of everything people have said here today. However, I will accept Mr Stanhope's amendment because I think he has made it quite clear that this work is under way and therefore Ms Dundas' amendment does not seem to me to be appropriate for that reason.

I am certainly looking forward to seeing the government's report on their work. I would urge them to come up with practical solutions sooner rather than later because, as I said, this has been on the agenda for a long time. I understand that this government has not been in office for long. I am not quite sure about the extent to which the Liberal government progressed this area after the March 2000 report of the committee. They did have time to do work on it. I do not recall if there was a lot of work done, but there may be speakers who want to explain what they did.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stanhope, it might be appropriate for you to now formally move the amendment which you have put forward.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again and move the amendment circulated in my name.

Leave granted.


Omit paragraph (1) and substitute:

"(1) That the Legislative Assembly supports the A.C.T. Government's investigation of the level and nature of any unmet need for respite care for people with dementia, and options for responding to any such unmet need."

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