Page 3948 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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mainstream schools, and those that still require a special schools setting have had the benefit of the intensive early intervention that is essential for a child to reach their maximum learning potential.

Other criticisms have evolved around cost. This program is not and need not be just for the rich, as it has been accused of in this place. I will leave it for others to outline possible costing models but as the AEIOU Foundation has highlighted in recent letters to MLAs, it is an affordable program. And the AEIOU Foundation works closely with several not-for-profit funds to provide additional funds.

We believe the Assembly today has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its united commitment to the delivery of quality early intervention. What it requires is the necessary approvals from government. It can only come from government, and on this side of the chamber we would publicly commend you, Ms Burch, for showing such leadership. The foundation is looking to expand its operation, and it would be negligent of us to lose this opportunity.

The motion that is before the Assembly today states that we note the fact that the University of Canberra is considering the establishment of an autism centre modelled on the AEIOU Foundation framework and that the AEIOU Foundation has recently written to ACT MLAs pointing out inaccuracies in claims about the cost of establishing a centre, demonstrating how the centre would be an affordable option for all families needing such services and confirming their willingness to establish the centre in Canberra.

We call on the Assembly to affirm bipartisan support for these additional early intervention services to families in the ACT. And we are calling on the government to support the AEIOU Foundation in their endeavours to establish this centre so that Canberra families can benefit from this quality, early intervention program and future University of Canberra students can benefit from exposure to world-class early intervention therapies for children with autism.

The call is there to our colleagues in the Assembly, to Mr Rattenbury, who basically is in the government but also has a separate role as a Greens’ representative—

Mr Rattenbury: Not according to your leader.

MR DOSZPOT: Parliamentary leader, thank you. I went to see Ms Burch this morning at 9.30. I called on your office. I left a message. I have not heard back—sorry, Madam Speaker, through you. The fact is, there is an opportunity for us to work together on this, Ms Burch, and I cannot make it plainer than I have in this motion so far but, unfortunately, I still have not heard from you. So I look forward to your response. But I certainly urge our colleagues in the Assembly to support this motion.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Disability, Children and Young People, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Women, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Racing and Gaming) (10.13): I thank Mr Doszpot for providing the opportunity to discuss support for children in our community who have an autism spectrum disorder. Mr Doszpot put this motion on the

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