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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 643 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Wales fire brigade. So if anybody, the suggestion is, turned the Batemans Bay fire brigade back, it was probably their controllers. That is the view, but we do not know, we cannot be certain about that, because nobody can give us any information about this allegation.

Yes, Mr Speaker, I was briefed about the McIntyres Hut fire at the time of the emergency and I regret my inadvertent misleading of the Assembly in relation to that.

Domestic assistance services

MS DUNDAS: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, I understand that domestic assistance services such as home help have had their waiting lists closed for 12 months, so unmet need has been growing more acute and there are a growing number of people unable to access this service. What is the government doing to address this crisis so that the elderly and disabled are able to stay in their family homes?

MR WOOD: There are number of community organisations out there who find their budgets under stress. I have to say, regretfully, that this is the case every year. I can remember in opposition making a comment of the same order-whether about that one or some other community service who do such a good job out there, who rely on government funds and whom the government relies on with those funds to deliver a good service. It is usually a tight squeeze and this government attends to that by way of budgetary consideration, which is well under way at this stage.

MS DUNDAS: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, given that the waiting lists were closed 12 months ago, this is an issue that has been on the books for over a year now. What is being done to address this issue now, and why wasn't it addressed earlier?

MR WOOD: Ms Dundas, there are other bodies and agencies helping people with disability. Other ministers can go through areas in their various departments where it is claimed-and it is usually a fairly reasonable claim-that there is unmet need. There are a whole range of these claims. We look to them and we fund them as well as we can.

In some areas of the last budget my agencies did extremely well. I was very proud of what the government could do in regard to the respective disability services. But if I had to, I would say to you, "Gee, we have a lot we could do yet."We are constantly attending to these matters. We provided extra funding last year in respite, in mental health and in a range of many other areas. We work hard to provide assistance for these groups. It is as simple as that and it is as complex as that because there is always a limited supply of money.

Bushfires-compensation claim

MR PRATT: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, given your statements placing complete responsibility on the New South Wales Rural Fire Service for the fire that crashed into Duffy, will you claim compensation from the New South Wales government for the damage caused by its fire?

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