Page 2355 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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For the edification of Mrs Burke—I think we have explained this to her once before—we bought properties for those people affected by the bushfires to go into. The sale of those properties will in fact pay for the replacement of their properties, to which they will be returned. Of course, the funding aspect will not necessarily happen overnight. We hope that it will happen in the same financial year. If not, we will make budgetary provision for that. I am surprised that the shadow housing minister has not worked that out, given that I have already said it about three times in public.

Aged care accommodation

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister inform the Assembly of the effectiveness of the government’s building for our ageing community strategy, which was launched in 2003?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Porter; yes, I can. Building for our ageing community is a very important and successful strategy which was developed by ACTPLA and the Chief Minister’s Department in concert, a strategy which we created to ensure that we met the needs of a rapidly ageing population. We can see proof positive of the success of that strategy in the coordinated and strategic way in which we are delivering on services, and particularly beds and units, for our ageing population. We see that, for instance, in the opening tomorrow of a new 20-bed dementia unit at Villaggio Sant Antonio in Page, and we see it in the opening in two weeks time of an additional 21 dementia beds at the Croatian village at Stirling.

Under the strategy we have developed a specific rolling program, or land bank, of aged persons accommodation development sites. Several sites have already been identified and some released. We provide support and guidance to proponents of aged care accommodation to ensure they can successfully navigate the planning and development process; we provide strong case management to simplify the processes and reduce unnecessary delays. We also provide a very specific focus on developing a much more proactive relationship with the commonwealth so that their allocations meet the needs of the ACT community, and so that the territory can ensure that land planning and bed allocation processes are streamlined.

We are making very significant progress in the provision of additional aged care facilities in Canberra and, over the next 18 months, we will see some several hundred additional beds brought on line within the ACT. The next two to three years will be a real boom time for aged accommodation in Canberra. Under the strategy there is one point of contact—an officer in my department—who has the authority and capacity to liaise with all ACT government agencies and provide a responsive service for developers on behalf of the territory. The land bank system ensures that, as beds are released by the commonwealth, blocks will be released from the land bank to enable new facilities to be built as bed funding becomes available.

As I said earlier, we are now seeing the very significant fruits of the strategy we have put into place. We will see that in the opening tomorrow of a 20-bed dementia unit at Villaggio, and we will see it in two weeks time with the opening of a 21-bed facility at the Croatian village in Stirling. Southern Cross Care are currently constructing a 70-bed

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