Page 1144 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005

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plan are because, basically, it is not an action plan. It is the “actionless” plan because it lacks targets. It lacks time frames and it lacks direct actions to deliver these things. We can talk until we are blue in the face about the need to ensure that hospitals have sufficient capacity but when will the government actually do something about it?

I would like to highlight the step-down facility that the previous government started work on in March 2001. It was announced in March 2001 that, because of bed block, some 20 to 30 older patients, nursing home type patients, were in the hospital system and not getting what they needed, which was a step-down facility, a nursing home type facility. We put money in the budget in May 2001 for that, but that it would be more than five years before the facility was completed. The last time we asked the minister about this it was due to be opened in October 2006. So that will be more than 5½ years from the start of the project. It is all well and good having a health action plan. It is all well and good to respond to recommendations from the committee that something is being done by saying; “We’ve got a health action plan”. But the health action plan has got to deliver something. The same as the Canberra social plan sets the improvement of the health and wellbeing of the ACT community as a priority area. Well, yes. So? We all know it has to be a priority area. What we do not get in the Canberra social plan is an indication that the government has got any way at all of delivering because, again, there are no targets, no time frames and no actions.

It is interesting that, of the recommendations, two are noted and one is agreed in principle. That is fairly standard fare from this government. It is the path they think will appease the committee and possibly the community. It gets them off the hook without actually doing anything. That being said, there are a number of initiatives that parts of the government are working on and they need to be commended, but I think, overall, the minister responsible for ageing has really neglected this part of his portfolio. I think that is a shame. What we need to do is make sure that the allied health care needs of people in the residential aged care community are looked after. The government’s response to the report does not give me a great deal of hope that one, they are being taken seriously or, two, that much will change.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Health and Disability—Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella): I seek leave to make a statement concerning a new inquiry.

Leave granted.

MS MacDONALD: The Standing Committee on Health and Disability has resolved to conduct an inquiry into and report on the current levels of access to safe, secure and affordable housing for people with mental illness, with particular reference to:

1. the flexibility of criteria for gaining access to public housing;

2. support mechanisms for people who currently live in public housing;

3. opportunities to involve non-Government stakeholders in the provision of appropriate housing;

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