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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2982 ..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

and I know Mr Cornwell sees as well. It is shameful for us, residents of the nation's capital, to be treating our aged residents in such a way. At the twilight of their existence we make their lives a misery. We should be allowing them to undertake this transition without putting hoops, hurdles, barriers and stress in their way.

We owe it to these people, who have made a long contribution to the life of their community, to ensure that they spend the remainder of their years in dignity, not in uncertainty and stress. Mr Speaker, I would suggest that the minister spends much time on playing games, playing with words, trying to be smart about the matter and playing Commonwealth against territory. It is not good enough. People do not want that; people are sick of that.

I say get on with the job and meet the needs that exist out there. We are well aware of the needs and I do like Ms Tucker's amendment, which adds a little bit of accountability to the whole process. I like that part of it. I do not like the fact that it is added to Mr Corbell's amendment.

Mr Speaker, we have been reviewed out and inquiry-ed out by this government. We are tired of the excuses. We know too well the problems. How much more time and information does this Labor government and this minister need? Does he not have the power and authority to fast-track a process with the approval of this place? Is he not able to use his initiative to find new ways to move on and make sure people are not suffering?

When are they going to stop playing the blame game with the Commonwealth? I have already said that but I will say it again: the Commonwealth has come to the party but when is this government, this minister, going to meet that responsibility? When is he going to make some tough decisions regarding planning to ensure we have sufficient aged care facilities? I am sure that my colleague, Vicki Dunne, will talk about that more.

We have heard some of the good things that have been done and we are not knocking those. They are wonderful, but it is no good having this self-congratulatory exercise: we need to make sure we are meeting needs, and we are not. It is clear that we are not meeting needs. How long will the minister allow the elderly in our community to suffer?

Mr Speaker, I fully support and commend Mr Cornwell for bringing this serious matter to the attention of this Assembly, and again commend Ms Tucker on her amendment, but would recommend that it simply be added to Mr Cornwell's motion. It does address an issue of accountability, which is to be welcomed. I cannot support Mr Corbell's self-congratulatory exercise.

MS TUCKER: I seek leave to speak to the motion.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: Aged care and particularly residential aged care has tragically been a political football for successive federal and territory governments, both Labor and Liberal in both positions, and it is not good enough, as Mrs Burke said. I do not think

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