Page 555 - Week 02 - Thursday, 17 February 2005

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three years to the day when the land is finally made available through the DVP for the construction of additional aged care facilities in the ACT.

That delay is intolerable. That delay can be laid fairly and squarely at the feet of the minister and the cabinet for their inability to make quick decisions on obvious issues that are very important to the community so that we an actually get on with building these aged care facilities. The Chief Minister has made much in the past six months of the fault for not providing these facilities being with the providers, saying that the government has cleared the way for them, but it is the time taken on each of these facilities by the minister and the land development authority, the procedures that the government has put in place and, ultimately, the cabinet that really slow down this process. You could really cut about 2½ years out of the process.

We will debate shortly the situation concerning St Andrew’s, which has had the same problem. The Calvary facility has had the same problem. The problem for each of them can be sheeted home to a government that is slow to react, often is inactive and does not have the ability to make quick and timely decisions to allow the community and the providers to get on with enjoying the services that these facilities provide.

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.12): I welcome the Leader of the Opposition’s comments on anything positive for our electorate. I acknowledge the Leader of the Opposition’s commitment to our electorate, but I also have to put on the record that it has taken some time for this government to unravel the shocking mess that it inherited in 2001 with respect to land being made available for the purposes of older persons’ accommodation.

In fact, if the record is examined, it will be found that it was this government that decided to break the nexus, the chicken and the egg system, whereby land or money was not available from the commonwealth and we went round the traps. It was this government that proposed and started off the process of land banking so that at least that part of the issue was taken care of.

Mr Speaker, I am really pleased to see the Monash development taking place. I think that it has been, as Mr Smyth quite rightly put it, a long time in the coming. We welcome it and I thank the committee for its words, but we have to understand and remember for future developments like this that this government has introduced positive change to the exercise.

It now behoves the federal government to lift its game and work with the ACT government in providing these people with appropriate accommodation and for us to remove as many of these barriers as we can. Having done so, it then behoves the private sector to prove that it can provide appropriate accommodation in appropriate locations and not come up with silly concepts that will raise people’s hopes but will never get off the ground. I also support the recommendations of the committee.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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