Page 3959 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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Minister, I think it is probably time. You have had almost 12 years in government over on that side as a party and there has been very little action in progressing this issue. I think it is time that the Canberra community demanded more from you. Supporting this motion today as Mr Doszpot originally wrote it would ensure that Canberra families have a choice when it comes to the services they can access. It would assist their autistic children in progressing and having a higher quality of life. The motion should be supported in its original form to ensure that Canberra’s families with autistic children have the best possible options available to them locally without the need to travel or consider moving interstate to access alternative services.

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (10.47): Minister Burch, to say that I am—

MADAM SPEAKER: Through the chair, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Madam Speaker, through you, to say that I am disappointed about Ms Burch’s amendment is an understatement. We have brought this motion into this Assembly with the very clearly defined intention of making this a bipartisan exercise to support discussions that are going on between two entities. It is not to interfere with what is going on, but, as is noted by both my colleagues on the other side, everyone is aware that the discussions are going on. In fact, Ms Burch’s comments and her amendment are contradictory. She is telling me that there is no known proposal that AEIOU has with the University of Canberra, yet in paragraph (1)(d) of her amendment she states there will be a meeting with the Ricky Stuart Foundation and that a meeting has been scheduled to discuss AEIOU’s proposal. So I am not sure if she is saying that the AEIOU’s proposal is being presented to her through the Ricky Stuart Foundation or whether they are looking at the AEIOU proposal that has been presented to the University of Canberra.

I was accused of not even talking to the University of Canberra. Well, for goodness sake, what would Ms Burch have said had I talked to the University of Canberra? “Why am I interfering in the work that one entity is doing negotiating with another?” We have been very careful, dignified but enthusiastic, Ms Burch. And well may you shake your head at your own amendment. We have been trying to get this government for months to recognise the fact that discussions are going on. We are not privy to those discussions, but, like a lot of people in Canberra, we are aware of the discussions. For you to tell us you are not aware of those discussions is quite interesting, to say the least.

The government have had ample opportunity to have a look at what is going on since my last motion when these issues were alluded to. But, no, that has not happened. Ms Burch tells us they are meeting with the Ricky Stuart Foundation. Well, we met with the Ricky Stuart Foundation 12 months ago—12 months ago, minister. Why is it taking you 12 months to do this? This is an important issue and, as I understand it, progress is going along well. But there is some concern that the government have not given any indication of support. In fact, in the last motions you addressed before us, Ms Burch, you stated all the reasons—financial and other reasons—that would prohibit you from even approaching anyone at the moment about this initiative that is before the University of Canberra and AEIOU.

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