Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001
Parliamentary Record 27
Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 28 February 2001 finally dropped. They are hiding behind a variety of issues such as the high density issue, but that has been proved to be a myth. The open space issue, too, has been proved to be a myth, as has the issue that frill-necked lizards frolic there. Well, they probably shant to any great extent, but I am sure the seniors would be very welcoming to our native flora and fauna. In any event, there is a substantial amount of land available adjacent to Leanyer that contains a great deal of native flora and fauna. One of the people I spoke to at the front of this building said: Look, really, why we have a problem with this is youre actually crowbarring seniors out of their houses and forcing them into these villages. There is another myth being pedalled by people as late as lunch time today. People move into seniors villages because they are attracted to them. The reason they are attracted to them is because they are often ground level, they are often smaller than where they live, and the idea of living in a precinct with other people of similar age is a good idea. The fact that we are conveniently locating them next to services provides an attractive proposition to people. So, the idea that we are going around with Housing Commission-type bailiffs and throwing people out of three-bedroom houses to put them in these terrible ghettos is the same sort of nonsense that we hear spruiked by some of the people who oppose it. They have to get down to basics - away from high density, frill-necked lizards, and open space arguments - and say why they dont like it. There has been consultation on the proposal. I dont think any building development in the northern suburbs has attracted so much high-level attention - from senior people up to CEO level in Territory Housing. It has been to the Planning Authority, which it didnt have to. The only reason it was originally exhibited with pink signs was to amalgamate the two titles, and it is a credit to Territory Housing it went for a rezoning that would impede it. The zoning is to make it wholly and solely a seniors village. It is to the great credit of NT Housing that its bona fides are being expressed through the legislative means; that is, the capacity to dispose of it to other than for a seniors accommodation, which was also one of the allegations. The member for Wanguri also ran a couple of cases of individuals in crisis, and sought to say, Well, there you go. This was a man who had dementia and he also had some difficulties with drugs. The family is in crisis; therefore the system is in crisis. This is a crazy extrapolation. At any time there are some minor problems in every ward in every hospital in Australia, if not the world. To say that the system is in crisis because there is a crisis with some family, or with some case under treatment, is stupid. But that is the sort of thing you expect. I am not denigrating the families involved, particularly the second case where the gentleman had some rapidly advancing dementia, to use the words of the opposition spokesman. This is a very difficult thing to deal with, particularly when people are inexperienced in these matters. It causes great trauma to family. In your midst there is suddenly someone who is a stranger to you, and that comes with its own grief. I have not sought a briefing on this particular gentleman, but in the press commentary on the matter it was indicated the gentleman had been there for two days, and people were saying: You should have assessed him by now. Sometimes it doesnt happen that quickly, particularly with a condition that is novel to both the chent, the family, the immediate surrounds, and everybody else. It may seem I am protecting Royal Darwin Hospital. I do that willingly because I know that the people there provide good care, and in circumstances like that there would be great empathy and sympathy for the family. On the face of it, it appears the family did have some elements of crisis attaching to this persons admittance to Royal Darwin Hospital. But to say that aged care is in crisis, or that Royal Darwin Hospital is in crisis, or that because this gentleman had a tendency to wander, then there were other people with dementia wandering willy-nilly through the corridors of Royal Darwin is just a tad of an exaggeration. I know I am prohibited from calling it a lie, but it is a substantial multiplication of a small fact into a very large allegation. People should be wary about those stories as they are paraded out. It is important that we talk about how many people are in hospitals awaiting nursing home placement. The opposition spokesman had some aged figures, and I dont mean that in terms of the debate; they were figures that were historically dated. The reason for that is he had parliamentary constipation for so long. He asked some questions back in June and then didnt get around to it again until February this year. We had quite a long period where he could have sought information, including during the budget debated, on aged care and on nursing homes. He would be aware that most figures relating to human services are actually a snapshot - whether you are talking about how many people are incarcerated; how many car accidents occur on a particular road; how many people are requiring particular specialist treatment; or, indeed, how many Territorians have been cared for in hospital and who are awaiting nursing home beds. This is something that changes quickly. 7524
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