Page 914 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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In its inquiry report, the committee has endorsed a number of current programs and recommended they continue. One example is the everyone everyday disability awareness program. The everyone everyday program targets children at primary school. It was developed in response to an identified need in the community to explicitly teach concepts relating to inclusivity. Its focus is on the inclusion of people with disability and the program aims to create a cultural shift in the way the community thinks about disability by positively influencing attitudes and behaviours within the community.

The underlying assumption is that we all benefit when the environments where we work, live and play are inclusive, and that we all have a role to play to create inclusive communities. The program shows a bit of thinking outside the box, and the committee has recommended that everyone everyday continues. Interested members should have a look at CSD’s YouTube channel to see the everyone everyday video.

Another success story identified during the committee’s inquiry is the chances program or, as it is now known, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job readiness support program. The program recognises that for people to concentrate on their education they may need help to address a range of challenges such as access to transport and childcare. Through the program vulnerable Indigenous people have been able to participate in vocational training. An outcome of the program is an increasing number of role models and people in jobs.

The Health Directorate, more commonly referred to as ACT Health, is very different to CSD. In 2012-13 the Community Services Directorate employed 1,320 people, compared to the Health Directorate’s 6,540. The Community Services Directorate spent more than $122 million compared to the Health Directorate’s $1.083 billion. The committee’s examination of the Health Directorate focused on six areas: acute services; mental health, justice health and alcohol and drug services; public health services; cancer services; rehabilitation, aged and community care; and early intervention and prevention.

In its report the committee acknowledges that there are significant challenges in providing a high-quality healthcare service. One of the significant achievements in 2012-13 was the Canberra Hospital being re-accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards. This is a significant achievement and a good news story for everyone in the ACT. The committee has made two recommendations relating to the Health Directorate.

The first concerns the government’s immunisation strategy. The committee has recommended that the immunisation strategy include data on a varied range of target groups to ensure high rates of immunisation for all sectors of the community. The committee’s second recommendation is that ACT Health continues in the area of preventative health, and in particular programs focused on obesity, such as towards zero growth. Most alarming is an increase in the rates of obesity in children.

The committee has made assessments about the two annual reports it examined. In some cases more attention is required to adhere to government guidelines for

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