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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 679 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

carers of people with a disability, along with projects like "access to the city". That looks at issues such as physical access, adaptable housing and an information hot desk. It sees a number of agencies working with the disability sector to improve access to government services and facilities and businesses, and more adaptable housing in the ACT.

Mr Speaker, the Canberra Liberals also reduced the administrative overheads for the sector. However, we note that they are still above the national average, so more work needs to be done in this area. The Report on Government Services 2002-Disabilities found that, over the period 1995 to 2001, the ACT, along with the Northern Territory, has led the way with regard to the provision of accommodation support services outside institutional settings for people with a disability.

Community-based accommodation, support and care are considered to provide better opportunities for people with a disability, enabling them to live as valued and participating members of society. According to the Report on Government Services 2002, the ACT figure for community-based accommodation, or in-home support, was 100 per cent, compared with 73 per cent nationally. Again, I welcome this report and look forward to the many agreed recommendations being followed through and implemented as a matter of urgency.

MS TUCKER (5.24): Despite concerns about an overly legalistic and adversarial approach, and the fact that there was a lack of procedural fairness in the treatment of some public servants, most agree that the Gallop inquiry went some way towards uncovering system failures in disability service delivery. Of course, an observer could justifiably point out that system failures have been identified before and there has been little change.

I first became aware of these issues when, in 1997, I chaired an inquiry into the Commonwealth-State Disability Agreement. Serious system failures were brought to the attention of that committee, many of which were eventually investigated by the health complaints commissioner. There were new policies and procedures introduced, new consultative forums set up and many glossy brochures produced, which told us how well things were going, but still the complaints kept coming in.

In 2001, the deaths of three people with a disability living in government group homes created a situation where there was enough political and community concern to initiate a full and independent inquiry. I developed the terms of reference for this, in consultation with many people who had experience of the current system-whether as clients, carers, workers or academics-as well as with experts from elsewhere.

The interesting thing in this exercise was to find how much agreement there was about what needed to be looked at in such an inquiry. This government has an opportunity to put in place a reform of the system which will ensure that people with a disability in the ACT can access high quality services.

The inquiry raised important questions about governance, accountability in a managerial system and the role of the minister, public servants and service providers. I will not go into detail about those issues now. The main point of this debate is to comment on the government's response so far to the system failures highlighted by the Gallop inquiry. The government acknowledged that there was need for serious reform, which is a good

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