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Wednesday, 20 March 2002
Page: 1144

Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) (7:30 PM) —I want to commence the summary by thanking all the contributors to this debate and to point out that I firmly believe this is a very firm statement of the government's commitment to ensuring quality services for people with disabilities. We are very pleased to receive support from the Labor Party and the Democrats for this Disability Services Amendment (Improved Quality Assurance) Bill 2002. I am sure someone can beat it in terms of the time period it has had for extensive consultation, but it must be in there as one of the most consulted on bills that I have been involved with.

The bill provides time for services to address what deficiencies they might have at the moment. From January 2005, if it is not a quality service it will not be funded. That might seem a long way away, but we are in 2002. These services do need time to adjust. The important thing is that we have all come to some agreement about how to move towards that and at that time we will be able to say that if it is a Commonwealth funded service they can rely on quality being delivered to people with a disability.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.