Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2296 ..
give government support for a significant project, the government tripped over themselves in their haste to punch something through. The government allowed themselves to be put under pressure, and they made a wrong decision. They allocated an untenable piece of dirt to the proponents, forcing the Chief Minister to intervene, do a backflip and scale the whole thing down. All they have done is leave a mess in their wake. So much for this government’s planning; so much for this government’s nous; so much for this government’s capability. What a sham.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—part 1.13—Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services—$188,517,000 (net cost of outputs), $15,223,000 (capital injection), $32,554,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $236,294,000.
MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (8.17): In this budget the Stanhope government has failed people with a disability. At this point I would just like to say that, whilst the government in its response to the estimates committee report makes no mention of the dissenting report, I hope it does act on some of the recommendations in that report because to not do so would be quite churlish. Even if it does not want to tell the opposition that it is acting upon them, if it starts to make moves to act upon them it certainly would be appreciated by those people out in the community.
There really is no substantial money allocated to new disability initiatives like assisted technologies or improvements in waiting times. There is that word again: waiting times. But this time it is for wheelchair assessments, which have ballooned out from around 12 to 18 months. One can only imagine the pain and discomfort that people, already incapacitated for life, are enduring from having to sit in wheelchairs that are often out of balance. That does not do their posture, such as it is, any favours at all. I hope that the government can look at that area as a matter of urgency.
We know that there is an ageing population, and those with a disability, mental or physical, should be front and centre of any plan to prepare for a massive increase in the uptake of public health care—and that is what we are going to have; the health minister talks about a tsunami. We are going to see a lot of that happening in the disability and care sector. As ageing parents pass on, higher levels of support and services will be required to cater for those people with disabilities that they leave behind.
Where is the provision? We do not see that. Unless the government can point that out to me, there is nothing clearly articulated in anything that I have been reading as to the forward planning for and allocations of moneys to cater for these issues and matters as they arise—and they will certainly arise.
In this area, too, there is a problem with lack of accountability and transparency. I am told that the consumers believe that in the last two individual support package funding rounds the government converted individuals who were funded within the ISS or government group home system to ISPs, individual support packages, even though they continued to live in group homes under government care. By doing this the government did not actually spend more money; what effectively happened was just a