Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2300 ..
from Hartley LifeCare. He does a wonderful job in that area, and maybe the government might wish to meet with him and discuss such matters.
The recommendation at paragraph 11.4 on individual support packages states:
We recommend that the Government implement action to expedite the process for assessing applications for individual support packages and to ensure the most effective communication of outcomes to applicants.
Finally, on equipment schemes:
We recommend that the Government take urgent action to enhance the ACT’s disability equipment scheme along the lines of schemes that are offered in other jurisdictions, such as in NSW.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (8.31): I still have got a voice, so that is good. First up, I want to say that, as with TAMS, we have the problem that none of our estimates questions, I notice, have really been answered yet. I think that is really a great pity. From the Minister for TAMS, we heard that there were just too many of them. But I would have thought that some of them could have been answered. I really hope that we are not seeing here an extension of an attitude that says, “The opposition and the crossbench are asking questions and they are really trying to irritate us.” Actually, we wanted to know, and that is why we asked the questions. That does actually mean that we are not really that much wiser than what we learnt in the estimates hearings and what we saw in the budget, and that is a pity.
On the topic of disability, as with most issues, the provision of disability services is not just about money. Integration and a whole-of-government approach are required for the lives of our disabled residents. There are a couple of areas where I think integration may be failing. One of these areas is taxis and transport. I have had quite a few constituents contact my office to discuss transport for people with a disability. Primarily, the concerns have been about the taxi system—not enough taxis, they take too long and not enough vouchers are provided.
We have also had concerns about the safety of bus travel and bus interchanges for people with a disability, particularly the blind. A lot of these issues are not under the department of disability’s portfolio and, in order to address them, it is very obvious that we need greater collaboration across government.
In the estimates dissenting report, as Mrs Burke has just read out, there are concerns about the funding of disability services. I am not going to go into these in detail because the opposition has done that but in general I do agree, and I am disappointed that the government has chosen not to respond. However, I just want to add that, in my office, in consultation with groups that act as advocacy organisations for people with a disability, we did find that there was not a lot of concern about this budget; therefore, I want to acknowledge that. I want to acknowledge that there is a lot that is happening in Disability ACT that really is getting it right.
It is probable that we need more—we certainly always need more access to respite care—for carers as well as for people with a disability. It would be wonderful if there