Page 3292 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 17 September 2013

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I am confident, looking at the information provided, that the government has done a pretty good job of streamlining the ASD assessment process, with the establishment of the Therapy ACT autism assessment team, a multidisciplinary assessment which involves home and school visits, and specific follow-up, developing programs and support for children who are diagnosed.

I am a little confused when it comes to what is happening at the University of Canberra. Mr Doszpot’s press release states:

… the University of Canberra … is in the final planning stages of establishing such a centre for children with autism.

Yet in the discussion today, Mr Doszpot, you said you hoped that the University of Canberra would go down that path. That is quite different from being in the final planning stages. I am a little unsure, but I am quite certain that the Community Services Directorate and the government more broadly will be very much open to having a conversation with the University of Canberra about what the model might be and what government support would be provided.

I would like to thank the minister and her directorate for providing the comprehensive summary of information about services for people with ASD in the ACT, and for an update on the implementation of DisabilityCare. That was one of the key outcomes from the motion that we discussed earlier in the year, and that has provided a good level of information both for members of the Assembly and also for parents and advocates.

I would also like to thank Ms Lawder for raising this in the Assembly today. I remain open to further discussions about how services are best provided. As I said, since the last time this came up not one person has approached me. To have Mr Doszpot come in here today and, as he is increasingly doing in debates in this place, make it very personal—getting stuck in and basically saying, “You do not give a stuff about this,” which is the tenor of the comments that are being made—is a long way from the reality of the fact that not one person has approached me since this Assembly last discussed this matter earlier in the year.

It is important to reflect that in the context of the conversation it is not good enough to come in here and take the occasional political pot-shot for the purposes of scoring points. These matters are actually complex—as, hopefully, I have outlined in my remarks today. I see the complexity in this issue. I see that the different advocates in this discussion have quite different views on the matter. Coming in here and simply having a go at each other is not a way to proceed with this matter. We need to sit down and have some serious discussions about it if the concerns are still there and if the supports identified in the government’s summary back to the Assembly are not considered adequate by the community.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (4.49): I thank Ms Lawder for bringing this discussion forward today. I would like to discuss what this government is doing in relation to autism and education. The government recognises the specific needs of

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