Page 4701 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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on reasonable grounds, the visitor believes that the care arrangements or living conditions of the person receiving support at a visitable place are inadequate or where a complaint has been made.

The official visitor program is part of a suite of important oversight and quality assurance mechanisms designed to provide rigorous scrutiny of and support to services with the goal of ensuring the best possible outcomes for people with disability in the ACT. These include the formal oversight functions of the Public Advocate, the Disability and Community Services Commissioner and the Human Services Registrar and informal mechanisms such as advocacy and support through the office for disability and community advocacy bodies such as ADACAS and Advocacy for Inclusion.

The official visitor, disability services, annual report 2016-17 describes an overall positive environment in terms of care and support in disability accommodation services. Over the year, the report noted that fewer referrals had been received by the official visitor about the care of people with disabilities in group homes. The report also notes a number of positive changes following transition to the NDIS, with people with disability using their NDIS packages to improve their lives through increasing their range of activities, with more inclusive use of mainstream activities.

In terms of challenges, the annual report points to particular concerns for younger people living in aged-care facilities. The official visitors’ ability to properly examine these issues is hindered by complexities over what now constitutes a visitable place. The report notes the importance of ensuring that knowledge and access to the official visitor is maintained and promoted to people who are considered to be an entitled person, given the ongoing transitional changes to the disability services system. These issues are currently being pursued by the ACT government.

Ms Sue Salthouse, originally appointed in early 2014, finished her term as an official visitor for disability services at the end of August this year. I would like to commend her for her commitment to ensuring that vulnerable people in Canberra have a voice for their concerns and her actions to remedy systemic issues that have affected people with disability. Ms Narelle Hargreaves has been reappointed as an official visitor for disability services until the end of August 2019. Ms Mary Durkin has been appointed as the second official visitor for disability services for the same period. I thank them both for the valuable role they play in the lives of Canberrans with a disability.

Community participation in government service delivery

Discussion of matter of public importance

MADAM SPEAKER: I have received letters from Ms Cheyne, Ms Cody, Mr Hanson, Mrs Jones, Ms Lee, Ms Orr, Mr Parton and Mr Pettersson proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I have determined that the matter proposed by Ms Cody be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance of community participation in the ACT on government service delivery, including through Fix My Street.

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