Page 386 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 15 February 2005

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There is a set of criteria to determine urgency. The allocation of these support packages is done by a committee. I will get Dr Foskey a paper showing the constitution of that committee to show the independence of it and the expertise brought to it. I think that is the best I can do at the moment. If Dr Foskey wants further briefings on that, she should contact my office and we will be only too pleased to provide it.

DR FOSKEY: I ask a supplementary question. What is the government doing to identify and address the need for services for people who did not meet the eligibility criteria or who did not apply for personal reasons, such as their perception that they would not be successful?

MR HARGREAVES: I have difficulty answering questions about what people who did not apply were doing. If the people who did not apply because they have a perception of X, Y and Z come forward, naturally they will be considered in the round of individual support packages. Each one of those people who applied for support under those packages and was unsuccessful has been contacted by officers of the department. We regard them as having a need that we have to satisfy. It may be that there are other means or ways that we can address the support that they require. Each case is individual; each case is different.

It is to the credit of the officers of the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services that they have not—as has happened in past regimes—just said, “Bad luck, you missed out, see you later.” They contact these people, go out and see them, or ask them to come in if it is more convenient, go through their circumstances and try to determine whether there are alternative means of support. We do not, as is implied, merely draw the line underneath the figure and say everybody above that line is satisfied and everybody below the line is not. The people who provide support to these applicants are professional and empathetic officers, and I have every confidence that they will work with these people, families and carers who require packages and will not exclude any organisation that could be brought to bear to assist these people.

Bushfires—coronial inquest

MR MULCAHY: My question is directed to the Attorney-General. I refer to my question to the attorney on December 7. On that occasion, I asked the attorney to advise how much it is estimated the taxpayer will pay to cover the costs of, first, the legal action to compel Coroner Doogan to stand aside as coroner; secondly, the direct legal representation of the government; thirdly, other parties to the action; and, fourthly, the coroner.

At that time the attorney responded with advice that he “did not have that information at his fingertips”. He said, however, that he “would be happy to provide details of the costs”. As he has not done so, can he advise the Assembly when I can expect to receive a reply to my question?

MR STANHOPE: I am sorry that I have not provided that information to you previously. I have it with me today. I will be in a position to table it after question time today.

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