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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1948 ..

Mr Cornwell: August.

MS TUCKER: Mr Cornwell interjects "August" but I said-

Mr Cornwell: August 2001 the report came down.

MS TUCKER: Mr Cornwell is saying that the report came out in August 2001. What I am saying is that in March 2000 exactly these same points were raised by the community-the coalition of organisations, the names of which I just listed-pointing out the problems related to all the areas that were reflected in the report. So we were told in March, by people who know, that there is a problem; that is all I am saying.

But the government-the last government-did not respond to that for whatever reason, and all I am saying is that it could have, and that it was very clear from stakeholders that issues such as there being no crisis accommodation for older people and the lack of respite care were serious. We probably did not need to have the inquiry to come out with a recommendation saying all that, but it is fine that we had one and it did reflect almost exactly what this May 2000 report said, which was that there were main areas that needed to be dealt with.

The first four recommendations of the report basically dealt with structures of governance and how you get reporting and inter-agency cooperation. Recommendation 6 was particularly about the refuge crisis accommodation problem.

The recommendation for police checks for all workers could have been implemented. That came up in the first report too. The issue of financial abuse came up very strongly in the May 2000 report as well. Respite care was recommendation 10. It was also there in the report. Training is also an important issue that has come up in both reports, and also the question of public awareness.

I think it is interesting to realise how we have changed the support that is available for older people. I was interested to see at the time and, just reading it again now, I think it is worth mentioning. In 1993, 94 per cent of people 60 years and over lived in private dwellings, with their spouses, on their own or with other relatives or friends-that was from the ABS in 1996. In contrast to this, only 5 per cent of older people lived in health establishments, nursing homes, hospitals, hostels or retirement villages with a supported bedding facility on site. That is ABS 1996, too.

And government policy over the past decade has favoured the expansion of support for older people at home, rather than in residential care settings. As a result, more and more older people, approximately 70 per cent with moderate or profoundly severe disabilities, as defined by the ABS, now live in the community rather than in residential care. That is also from the 1996 ABS report. And the proportion of older people living in the community decreases with age, but not significantly, with almost 84 per cent of men and nearly 75 per cent of women who are over 80 years of age still living in the community. I think that is a good thing. Probably most of us would think that.

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