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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4322 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

offer a space where a Seniors Café could be established for residents on the south side requiring social contact only.

How prescriptive is this? We are not interested in people: we are only interested in statements about how we can move bodies around irrespective of how they are affected.

I repeat that what we are doing is breaking up social networks to satisfy government funding needs. Obviously, this diaspora of the aged will save money. At page 3, under the heading "Transport", the brief states:

A small bus driven by centre staff will provide transport to those requiring assistance to access aged day care.

"A small bus". Chief Minister, why don't you just hire a taxi because that is probably all that will be needed to transport what is left of this group of people after you have finished destroying their social networks and all that they have become accustomed to and are comfortable with?

Thus, there has been a financial decision, I would suggest, to close two well-used, well-loved aged day-care facilities. But two questions arise. (Extension of time granted.) Firstly, why can't the centres be renovated? After all, it is suggested at page 29 of the review:

Both Dickson and Narrabundah have been identified for future upgrade and refurbishment. This is an opportunity to design one dementia specific unit appropriate to the service requirements that would cater to the growing population group affected by dementia.

You have admitted, first of all, that the number of dementia patients are increasing. You have admitted that there could be an upgrade of one centre. Why don't you upgrade both? Are you, yet again, going to run these dementia people all over the place? There is plenty of evidence to support the view that moving dementia people around is not a good idea. So why don't you just renovate the facilities at Narrabundah and Dickson? These facilities could continue to be used while the renovations were taking place.

But secondly, Mr Stanhope, what will happen to those at the age-care centres at Narrabundah and Dickson who do not want to relocate to Belconnen or to Tuggeranong or to another non-government centre, as you have suggested in this brief? What will happen to them? I wait to hear your views. My opinion is that they will simply stay at home, rot and die, and I would not want that on my conscience, particularly if I was repeatedly claiming to be a caring government.

I believe, members, that the failure to consult with the stakeholders-the carers, the users, the unions-prior to making a decision on this report of March 2002 is a mistake. There has been apparent secrecy surrounding this review and the government's decision on it, which will result in the shameful and destructive breaking up of the social networks of these elderly aged people. It is difficult to know how many will be affected but I would reckon, based on the figures in the report of 200 attending all four units, there are maybe 50 in Dickson and 50 in Narrabundah.

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