Page 1342 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Disability services

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I would like to clarify a statement I made in question time on Wednesday, 16 March 2005 in relation to individual support packages by providing some additional information. I know that the issue is very complicated and sometimes people either misunderstand or misinterpret what is said. We talked about our connection with people who did not get an ISP. I sent a letter notifying those people of their lack of success. Whilst the letter to applicants did not contain a specific invitation to contact the department, the application pack did have full contact details. If applicants contacted the department, they were provided with information in relation to the ISP funding process and, if required, were directed to officers involved in the support funding process. The applicants were also welcome to meet with the executive director, if requested.

Mr Speaker, the 15 people who were short-listed and who did not receive a support package have had a comprehensive assessment and, where possible, were linked into an alternative support. A large number of unsuccessful applicants are already linked to support and alternative service providers. However, this may be inadequate and we will continue to work towards improving their outcomes over the long term. The department has an open door policy and meets with individuals and families on request.

I do, however, appreciate that there remain many instances of people with legitimate needs in our community. In fact, on 22 March this year I attended a public forum facilitated by the Client Guardian Forum and TAS Housing where both individual and general issues of support to the disability community were raised directly with me. Additionally, I met with representatives of the sector and the Disability Advisory Council who raised similar issues with me. The government remains committed to working closely with the community in addressing the needs of those with a disability.

Indeed, since assuming the ministry, I have met with an enormous number of people involved in the disability and housing sectors and I have met with a lot of these organisations on more than one occasion. In fact, the feedback has been that the Stanhope government has connected more with the disability and housing sectors than any government before it.


MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, I would like to provide some additional information to Mrs Burke with respect to the asbestos program within public housing. In fact, there was action only yesterday which impacts on the question that she asked. The Dangerous Substances (Asbestos) Amendment Act 2004 requires owners and occupiers of homes or other premises to advise in writing what they know about materials containing asbestos in their premises to tenants and prospective tenants, prospective buyers and persons doing relevant work at the premises, for example, construction and renovation—that is, to tell people what we know already; not what we are going to find out, future stuff.

The Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services owns 11,500 public rental properties, about 80 per cent of which were built prior to 1988 and therefore are

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