Page 5534 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009

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MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what suitable accommodation from within existing public housing stock is available for people with a disability? If there is none, what measures are you implementing to increase this stock?

Mr Smyth: Hear, hear, but don’t rush.

MS BURCH: I note the continued graciousness from those opposite as well. ACT Health and Disability, Housing and Community Services have been working together to improve transition of long-term patients to community support accommodation. A partnership project, transition to the community, has been established to put in place policy supports around the discharge processes for patients in this group. Any person who has an immediacy of need, and who is at risk, of natural or formal supports is put on a priority list and there is a range of supports on offer. In addition to the initiative above, we have spent $58 million annually on a range of support services. Indeed, as for houses—even though those opposite say, “Understand that talking around particular clients is not good practice”—we are currently responding to particular clients’ needs and are indeed constructing purpose-built accommodation for one of those clients.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Minister, is it not true then that one of the priority areas of Housing ACT is looking after people with a disability and making sure that the accommodation is appropriate? Is it not true that the exit from hospitals program—the $3 million you were talking about—is, in fact, about adaptable housing, which is also a priority for Housing ACT?

MS BURCH: I thank the member for his question. I also recognise his contribution to this area while he was minister. Transition from hospital and long-term care in rehabilitation is something that needs not only structural supports and care and services around patients; the physical environment in which they need to be needs to support their needs as well. Part of the $3 million is around supporting capital infrastructure. It is around having their physical environments safe. This is why we are purpose building units in particular to meet the needs of targeted clients.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot?

MR DOSZPOT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, are you aware that Ms Karyn Costello, a patient with an acquired disability, received her ISP in July 2009 but is still in Canberra Hospital waiting for suitable accommodation? What do you intend to do about this situation?

MS BURCH: As I think people in this chamber would appreciate, talking about individual clients is not good practice. You have actually written to my office on this matter, so you could be patient and gracious and wait for that reply, or I could give you a brief.

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