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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1153 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

short-term contracts and four contract variations. The details of all these contracts will be circulated to members.

Board of Inquiry into Disability Services-first six-monthly report

Paper and statement by minister

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Heritage and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.38): For the information of members I present the following paper:

Implementation of the Government response to the recommendations of the Report of the Board of Inquiry into Disability Services-First six monthly report, dated April 2003.

I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, today it is my pleasure to table the first six-monthly progress report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Board of Inquiry into Disability Services in the ACT. Members will recall that, in September 2002, I announced a systematic reform strategy-Steps to Reform-based on a series of actions and innovative steps to be implemented over the next three to five years.

As the report I present today will attest, we are meeting our responsibilities. We have achieved significant progress on delivering improved disability services, working in partnership with people with disabilities, their families, carers and supporting community organisations. We have moved quickly to progress a range of initiatives outlined in the government's response to the board of inquiry. Our systematic strategy builds on initiatives totalling some $2.5 million in extra expenditure, announced in last year's budget.

A comprehensive framework is now in place to springboard a raft of service improvements across the disability sector. We have established five joint community and government reform working groups to assist Disability ACT, as well as the soon-to-be-appointed community advisory body.

These groups will be investigating a broad range of issues covering access, eligibility, funding, housing quality and standards, work force and legislative reform. I am encouraged that more than 40 community representatives are involved in the groups, meeting every two to three weeks since their inception late last year.

As I have previously noted in the Assembly, the establishment of these working groups is a tremendous achievement. There are, I believe, very few examples of such extensive and direct community participation at the beginning of the policy development process. Each working group is co-chaired by a government and community representative, with the terms of reference based closely on the priority areas identified in Steps to Reform.

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