Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 2985 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
That is why, again, I am putting that amendment up today. I think that, if we can obtain that, we will have an instrument in this Assembly to make the government more accountable than we have ever been able to do with this government or previous governments, because we just do not know. All we know is that there is a problem and that successive governments have told us, "We are doing this", but we never have a measure by which we can judge whether what they do is enough.
Mr Corbell's amendment takes out the clause calling for more and better respite care. It does provide some indication of work that has been done to deal with this need, but it gives no indication of whether that is enough or appropriate. As I have said, this need has been identified many times and that is why I am introducing my amendment.
Aged care needs in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of the ACT and region have not been specifically covered in Mr Cornwell's original motion, nor in Mr Corbell's alternative. The previous government's ACT Aged Health Care Services Advisory Council completed a study of unmet health needs for older people in the ACT, the results of which were delivered in February 2002. COTA noted that they had not surveyed any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander older people. COTA also noted that their survey had been rushed and not well resourced, and so further detailed work was needed.
The National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health completed a study on the needs of indigenous older people in the ACT. They found:
Very few people were aware of existing information which could help them access services, notably the Directory of services for the ageing in the ACT by the ACT Council on the Aging and Care options for older persons in the ACT and Queanbeyan by the ACT Office of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care. There would also be value in developing information resources specific to older Indigenous people. Ninety-eight per cent thought a booklet would be useful and 88 per cent thought a video would be useful.
Few were aware of Community Aged Care Packages, but when these were explained, 73 per cent thought this would be their preferred service, rather than Home and Community Care.
This contrasts with the findings of COTA's survey: 23.8 per cent of that population, which as it happened did not include any indigenous older people, reported inadequate information.
This is why my amendment does refer to meeting the needs in all sectors. The different cultures, life experiences and socioeconomic statuses, and of course genders, within the community may need addressing in different ways. Mr Cornwell claimed incorrectly again that the Greens prefer trees to older people. Let me explain to Mr Cornwell that it is possible to care for both, and in fact we have to do that.
He talked particularly about south Bruce and made a very incorrect statement: he said there was an increase in the number of ILUs, independent living units, as well as the beds in the facility, because we have had to wait. Indeed, that is not the case. I have had meetings with Calvary about this. (Extension of time granted.)