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Thursday, 15 June 1989
Page: 4174

Senator COOK (Minister for Resources)(9.57) —Senator Walters has raised what I regard as an important point. I will try to answer that point as fully as it requires. The Government's view is that we want to make the transition. There is a general view that that is the desirable outcome and that it would improve the quality of life of these disabled people who are, after all, not geriatrics. They are disabled and they should be treated humanely. There are costs in making that change. I choose these words carefully because it is important to make the point that while we would like to see the transition made by 1992, which is set out as the target date, it is not the Government's intention to bulldoze, force, push or shove. Rather, what the Department has been doing is talking to the institutions and working out, in their particular circumstances, the best outcome that can be attained for them. We are working with the institutions to make the transition. Already nine institutions have made the transition and 21 have applied to do so. That is an indication that the way we are proceeding is the proper way and it meets the needs of the institutions for which Senator Walters may be concerned.