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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3320 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Elder abuse is one of the issues that must be addressed to ensure that the ACT is an inclusive community where older people will feel safe and valued. Our plan for older Canberrans recognises this and undertakes to implement the key findings of the report.

Developing this response to the standing committee's report, the government has consulted widely. We have begun consultations with New South Wales about using the materials that state developed for a broad education campaign encompassing the professional and community sectors.

The government has recognised that there is an emerging need among older women for safe and affordable accommodation, as only limited options are available for them. To meet this emerging need, a site in Weston Creek has been allocated to the older women's boarding house project. The older women's boarding house will provide eight independent living units for women aged 55 and over who have experienced family breakdown or elder abuse, and who have exited a supported accommodation assistance program service.

We are investigating safeguards for powers of attorney, and we have instituted a requirement for mandatory police checks in all purchase agreements related to services for older people. Consultation was undertaken with the ACT Office for Women and the ACT Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs to integrate the work being done by these offices in relation to addressing violence in these sectors of the community. Consultation also took place with a number of government and community agencies, and all indicated a willingness to work cooperatively towards reducing the incidence of elder abuse in our community.

Members should, in fact, note that the government supports all of the report's recommendations. In responding to the report, the government reinforces its commitment to working with service providers to address the many issues raised during the inquiry. We want to make sure that a heightened awareness and a clearer focus can eradicate this menace from the community. We want all our older citizens to enjoy the safe, comfortable and productive lives that they so clearly deserve.

I commend the government's response to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Cornwell ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Legal Affairs-Standing Committee

Report No 4-government response

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (3.30): Mr Speaker, for the information of members I present the following paper:

Legal Affairs-Standing Committee-Report No 4-The Appropriateness of the Size of the Legislative Assembly for the ACT and Options for Changing the Number of Members, Electorates and any Other Related Matter, dated 26 June 2002 (presented 27 June 2002)-Government response.

I ask for leave to make a statement.

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