Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3027 ..
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (12.14): Mr Speaker, I just have some remarks that I wish to make in relation to this particular line and the creation of the new Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services.
I think the point needs to be made, in the context of the debate and the appropriation for this department, that the department was created just recently. It was created in July as a response to the Gallop inquiry, and the Reid inquiry, and it was created with the full support of the Disability Reform Group. I think we need to make those points in terms of initiatives and change in relation to the delivery of disability services in the ACT. We are all aware-acutely and to some extent painfully-of the Gallop report and the inquiry into disability service delivery in the ACT. The Gallop report was long, difficult and fraught, and, even with some of the warts that it wears, it does provide significant advice and guidance in relation to disability service delivery and a potential way forward.
As members know, the government has established a process for responding to the Gallop report. It centres on the creation of the Disability Reform Group, the engagement of an expert disability consultant and initially the creation of an Office of Disability, and now the creation of a department of disability.
One of the fundamental recommendations of Gallop, which was supported by Mick Reid in his review of health service administrative or governance issues in the ACT and which was at the forefront of the thinking of the disability sector and adopted by the Disability Reform Group, was for disability services in the ACT to be delivered through an instrumentality with a particular focus on disability service delivery.
It was the strong view of the Disability Reform Group, which is a group representative of all disability organisations in the ACT, that disability service delivery should be separated from the department of health. It was the strong view and wish-I believe the unanimous view-of the Disability Reform Group that disability service delivery be removed from the health service delivery administrative arrangement or structure. The government acted on that. Indeed, I guess it is fair to say that it was the first of the Gallop report recommendations to be acted on, although Gallop did not recommend exactly that structure. But essentially the creation of this department is a response to the Gallop inquiry into disability services.
On the issue of the response to Gallop and the work that is subsequently being done by the Disability Reform Group, the Office of Disability and now the department, I am hopeful that the reporting timelines that I established when I set this process in place-namely, that we would have a full and detailed response to the Gallop report by September-will be met. There will be a comprehensive response by the government to that report.
In anticipation of that, we have provided in this line an additional $2.5 million this year and in each of the out years over and above other funding for disability services-accepting and expecting that the implementation of the reforms that will flow out of the Disability Reform Group's work will, of course, require some resources.