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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 4616 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

still need a strong level of aged care. Just this year I announced $1.5 million extra HACC funding to community organisations in the ACT to provide home support services. Funding has been allocated to services providing allied health care, case coordination, case management, centre-based day care, counselling support, information and advocacy, domestic assistance, home maintenance, home modification, nursing care, personal care, goods and equipment, social support, and transport.

The government has also allocated an additional $1 million per annum to improve respite care services in the ACT. This funding is being used to support a number of pilot and non-recurrent services to respond to a range of issues in respite care. These services include more flexible family support. A consortium of three established community providers has developed an innovative model to assist families to maintain and strengthen their capacity to support their caring relationship through flexible support arrangements.

There is also the home-from-home pilot which is designed to give extra support in the area of dementia respite, to provide flexible hours of services to meet the needs of carers, and a reduction in the fragmentation of services through improved coordination and access to respite-care services. As I have said, an extra $1.5 million has gone into HACC, an extra $1 million into extra respite care.

The ACT government is also working on the issue of post-hospitalisation. We have set up the very successful and popular ACT convalescent service, a nine-bed unit at the Calvary Public Hospital, to provide care for a period of up to two weeks for people who have had their acute health problems treated but who still require a lower level of care before they can return home. We have also supported support packages in the community for a period of up to three months, again to provide that support for older people as they leave hospital and make the transition back to their home environment.

The government has also funded the ACT transitional care program, which provides up to 12 weeks of rehabilitation for people to improve the likelihood that they can return home rather than go into a nursing home. On top of that, the government has set aside over $4 million to build a new major facility to provide rehabilitation and other non-acute services. This new facility will provide 60 beds to expand rehabilitation, transitional care and new psycho-geriatric services for people in the ACT-a first for the ACT-once their acute needs have been treated in hospital. The government has a strong and comprehensive program.

Returning to the issue of residential aged care, we have now approved beds at both Calvary and Garran for new facilities. Land has been granted and that work is under way. The other issue that the government is investigating is additional sites. A site in Belconnen will be released this financial year, and further sites will be released in the future.

MRS BURKE (4.14): Listening to the debate is quite interesting. I think Ms Tucker made some very good points about actions and time lines. Again we see inactivity and a lot of skirting around the issue by the minister. I am afraid the minister is telling us the obvious. Services are one thing but building and constructing is another thing. It is admirable. The services are desperately needed, but again it is skirting around the issue.

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