Page 1439 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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ACT would cease as a result of the introduction of the NDIS”. Minister, will you guarantee that no current service will be cut or reduced when the NDIS is introduced?

MS BURCH: I do thank Mr Doszpot for his question. The NDIS would certainly make significant changes to the disability sector here in the ACT and to those organisations, both government and non-government, that are providing services. What I have heard very loudly from the broader community, and particularly the disability community, is the want for information about how the NDIS is progressing.

So we have been very clear, not only in standing up a government task force, setting up an expert panel, an advisory group, that is being co-chaired by Ms Sue Salthouse but also having public information sessions, town hall workshops, call them what you like, so that we can share with the community all the advice as it comes in. And I hope that all in this place understand that this is a very quick moving and, in many ways, changing dynamic about the information that is coming forward.

Certainly we are aware that there needs to be a conversation about government as a service provider, as there will be conversations within the non-government providers about what is their role and what would be their service provision offers come 2014 when the NDIS starts here in the ACT. If that means that some of the specialist services that are currently provided by the government change, that may be it.

But I am certainly aware—and I have been contacted by a number of families who are in receipt of government services, and rightly so—that they have expressed a level of wanting information. I will use the word “concern”, because clearly this is about their family and their children. I absolutely appreciate that. So we need to be as open and as clear as we can with them. As we move through these services and decisions, we share that with the community.

Will any service be changed? I would say yes. Not just government but the non-government providers will certainly change some aspects of the service that they deliver. But I will not stand here and say that we will reduce our support to families. It may change, but it is not about us stepping away from our responsibility to do all we can to support these families.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, how can people with a disability in the community have confidence and feel secure when they are being told by senior staff that their support services will cease?

MS BURCH: In many ways I am going to have to dispute the premise of saying that senior staff are saying as a definite that services will cease. I have indicated that not only government but also non-government services will change. I think Mr Hanson explored some of this through the annual reports hearings when they had staff and the executive from Community Services and Disability ACT go through some of the thinking, processes and understanding that the provision of services in the ACT will change, as it will change in the other states when the NDIS comes in.

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