Page 2181 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 June 2018

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The committee heard that the new referral pathway for children in the ACT identified with hearing loss at birth has become significantly longer with the introduction of the EACH pathway under the NDIS. The EACH pathway is designed only for early intervention with children under the age of six.

The committee heard that the EACH pathway can result in children not being referred to auditory specialists in time to commence therapy before the auditory cortex closes. The committee was told that, if treatment starts after six months of age, the child will have permanent delays in regard to speech. The committee was understandably concerned about the effect that such delays could have on children born in the ACT with hearing loss.

Since hearing from the Shepherd Centre the committee has heard conflicting reports about what the correct process is for referrals of this nature. As a result the committee has written to the federal assistant minister responsible for the NDIS, the CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency, the chair of the federal joint committee on the NDIS, and the responsible ACT minister, Minister Stephen-Smith, highlighting this significant shortcoming in the current operation of the scheme.

The committee is making a statement today in an effort to encourage immediate action in relation to this crucial matter. The committee also takes this opportunity to thank all submitters to the inquiry and those that appeared before the public hearings. The committee plans on tabling its final report before the end of the year.

Executive business—precedence

Ordered that executive business be called on.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Gentleman) agreed to:

That leave of absence be granted for all members for the period 8 June to 30 July 2018.

Ombudsman Amendment Bill 2018

Debate resumed from 10 May 2018, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (11.38): I rise today to resume debate on the Ombudsman Amendment Bill 2018. In doing so, I wish to speak from a very personal space and once again make clear my absolute commitment to the protection of children. I believe that my public record on this issue should be abundantly clear already. In March last year I raised concerns in this chamber that the government’s Family and Personal Violence Legislation Amendment Bill did not adequately protect children because it forces the Magistrates Court to amend protection orders even in

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