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Thursday, 15 June 1989
Page: 4171

Senator COULTER(9.36) —The intention behind the process in train here seems to be entirely laudable and a move in the right direction. However, in recent days I have become aware of considerable failings in this program on the ground. There seems to be a considerable gap between what is proposed and what everybody agrees is desirable and what is actually happening in nursing homes, particularly the nursing homes caring for people who are mentally handicapped to some considerable degree. It seems that the Government is proceeding without doing what I understand it said it would do, namely, assess the needs of individuals patient or clients to see whether it was appropriate for them to be moved. Moreover, it said that it would not set up proper assessment criteria in the whole program but would find out how well the program was working and feed that information back to modify the program as it went along.

Before I can make up my mind on this matter, I want to ask the Minister a number of questions. I would like fairly quick replies so that we can go through this quickly. I foreshadow to the Minister that I have some 15 questions. If I can ask them one at a time and have a brief reply, that will help me make up my mind. The first question is: Is it the intention to shift all intellectually handicapped people at present in nursing homes into cottage style accommodation?