Page 2041 - Week 06 - Friday, 6 May 2005

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(6) All kangaroo culling in the ACT will be in accordance with the ACT Code of Practice. Any culling in Googong Foreshores will be in accordance with conditions determined by NSW.

(7) The provisions of the prevailing Code of Practice will be observed for any kangaroo culling program in the ACT. The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee will be consulted about any proposed variation to the Code. The Committee will continue to advise me on animal welfare issues and it will be briefed on related matters. However, the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee is not involved in operational decisions.

(Question No 376)

Dr Foskey asked the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, upon notice, on 7 April 2005:

(1) In relation to Therapy ACT, is it acceptable to have an autism diagnosis waiting list of 92 children effective 2 March 2005, resulting in the waiting time for a child less that five years of age being one year and the waiting time for children over five years of age being two years;

(2) What is the Government doing to reduce the waiting list and the waiting times;

(3) When can we expect to see the waiting list and waiting periods reduced;

(4) Will the Minister provide details of what assistance is provided by Therapy ACT to children on the waiting list and their families, including (a) the amount of assistance provided, (b) the type of assistance and (c) how many children are currently receiving this assistance.

Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) No.

(2) In 2004-05 the government budget initiative provided $1.63m over the next four years to expand the autism assessment program. The funding has been used to employ three allied health professionals including .6 of a psychologist. This increase in staffing will enable more assessments to be completed, reduce the waiting list and provide family support and training around the assessment and diagnosis phase.

(3) The waiting list and waiting times have been reduced and it is expected that this will continue.

(4) The majority of children on the waiting list are already clients of Therapy ACT and are therefore accessing services. Clients referred for autism assessment who are not current clients are asked about their needs and concerns at the intake phase. At this phase if concerns or issues are identified in any of the therapy areas they will be referred to the discipline as well as for autism assessment.

The new Autism Assessment and Family Support team plans to send letters to the family on receipt of referral, at assessment time and also at regular six monthly intervals while

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