Page 4173 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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aware of what services are currently on offer and aware of the shortfalls. We should be constantly trying to improve the services that are delivered to people in our community.

The role of the opposition largely is a role of scrutiny: to scrutinise the work that government is doing. Bringing motions like this to this place today gives the opposition an opportunity not just to talk about where we think some areas for improvement are or where alternative policies are but to bring to the forefront the issues that affect these people in our community.

I am not surprised that Minister Burch has moved an amendment that seeks to omit virtually all of my motion and replace it with all her own words, but that is the nature of things in this place. I will touch on a couple of points that Ms Burch raised. I refer, firstly, to AEIOU and her challenge for me to talk to them and tell them to put their money where their mouth is and come to the ACT. I am proud to say that that is the exact conversation I and my colleagues have been having with them for quite a sustained time. As far back as the last election, we were encouraging them to come here and set up in the ACT.

In one of my most recent conversations with the CEO of that organisation, he indicated that they have formally submitted a request for a grant to the ACT government for a block of land in Woden. So the fact remains that they are willing to come to Canberra. They want to provide services here. They want to help young children with autism in Canberra. All they need is a little assistance and a sign of goodwill and good faith from the ACT Labor government that they are welcome here, because for so long there has been debate in this place about their being an exclusive private provider.

The government has seen the light. They recognise that there is a space for the private sector when it comes to providing services for people with a disability. That is why I support their move as a government to exit this space of being a front-line service provider. The way is now clear for organisations like AEIOU to come and set up here in Canberra. I will watch with great hope for land to be granted to that organisation so many Canberra families have the opportunity for access to the first-class early intervention service that they provide.

Minister Burch dismissed much of the content of our motion for failing to make reference to the most recent report delivered by Professor Tony Shaddock today. To clarify the position, that report was provided to the opposition at about this time yesterday, at about 5 pm. It was in the afternoon. Motions were due to be presented in the Assembly by 12.30 yesterday. The copy that the minister provided to us was under embargo. It would have been a breach to start detailing that in a motion to be publicised before the minister had the opportunity to brief the opposition, to brief education specialists, to brief the public service and to present her report publicly herself.

I think it is a bit rich and a bit ripe for this minister to criticise me and the members of the opposition for failing to do that when it would have been a complete breach of the terms under which she agreed to share that report with us. I think it is only appropriate that the record reflect that.

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