Page 60 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 7 December 2004

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the legal system, it is the Attorney-General, as the first law officer, who has a principal role to play. The Attorney-General is a minister of the government, but as a minister he does have an identity separate to that which other ministers have in our systems of government. The Attorney-General must on occasions separate himself, in terms of his responsibilities to the law, from his role as a politician. It is a vital and accepted part of his role as Attorney-General.

Attorney, do you stand by your statement in this place on 6 May 1999?

MR STANHOPE: I most certainly do, Mr Speaker.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Attorney, why have you failed to follow this generally accepted part of your role in relation to the coronial inquest into the bushfires?

MR STANHOPE: I haven’t, Mr Speaker.

Innovation grants program

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Mr Hargreaves. Can the minister please advise the Assembly of the outcomes of the 2004 Disability ACT community-governed innovation grants program?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms Porter for the question. Mr Speaker, I was expecting something really mean and tricky from those folk; I will wait for that. Disability ACT is committed to developing innovative support arrangements for people with a disability in the ACT. The innovation fund was established in the 2002-03 budget following recommendation 49 of the board of inquiry into disability services in 2001. The main aim of the grants is to minimise the impact of disabilities on people and maximise the opportunities for people with a disability to participate as full members of their communities.

Disability ACT decided to be innovative in its approach to the 2004 innovation grants selection process by enlisting the assistance of SHOUT Inc, which has been given a grant to facilitate the employment of two parent advocates to undertake this work. These project coordinators were responsible for the development of a grants process, the drafting of appropriate documentation, and the gathering of a reference group and separate selection panel from expert community representatives.

Projects funded under these grants were intended to directly address the needs of people who have a disability, their families and their primary carers; that is, projects that encourage or act as a catalyst for long-term change in community attitudes and cultural perceptions of people who have a disability, create partnerships and support families in new ways, and redesign conventional practices to better address people’s needs.

Thirty-eight applications were received, with 11 of them being short listed for interview. Six proposals were approved. The first was the get out and play project of VISACT, concerning sport for the visually impaired, which received $19,000. The focus of this project is on coaching and sports development. The aim is to enable people with visual impairment to have access to mainstream sport. VISACT will offer regular coaching and come-and-try options and will work with sporting bodies to increase awareness.

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