Interim report on the COVID-19 pandemic response
The Select Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic response has released its third interim report. The Committee has drawn on the evidence provided to it in public hearings and submissions to make the following 21 recommendations:
The Committee recommends that the Minister for Mental Health report at each remaining sitting of the Ninth Assembly on the occupancy rate for acute mental health beds.
The Committee recommends that the Minister for Health at each remaining sitting of the Ninth Assembly, update the Assembly and the community on the backlog of elective surgery, including a breakdown by specialty and how the government intends to clear the backlog.
The Committee recommends that the Minister for Health at each remaining sitting of the Ninth Assembly, update the Assembly and the community on any backlog in access to specialty clinics and outpatient services, including a breakdown by specialty, and how the government intends to clear the backlog.
The Committee recommends that ACT health, in conjunction with health and disability organisations, provide information for GPs and other health workers about how to prevent infection with in-home workers and the importance of support for disabled people.
The Committee recommends that any further directions issued by the ACT Government be clearer about what aspects of a venue fall within the floor space that determines how many patrons can be in a space in a venue.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government consider whether guidelines for venues are better contained within directions/determinations rather than existing separately.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government publish the AHPPC advice that states that gaming venues should not open until stage 3.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government provide some concession, such as rent relief for ACT Government premises, to the organisers of Live in Ya Lounge.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government create a library of arts equipment for use by the arts sector.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government create guidelines for managers and staff regarding working from home arrangements and transitional arrangements for return to office-based work.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government make it a priority to publish an action plan to support the ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy, as required by that strategy, and that that plan include:
- specific information for people with disabilities, families, carers and support workers so that people with disabilities can participate in society in accordance with social distancing rules;
- clear information to people with a disability and their carers about what the process is to access and acquire PPE;
- provision for an ACT COVID-19 Disability Hotline; and
- a way to operationalize the Territory role in the Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability.
The Committee recommends that the ACT government establish a small fund to be administered by CarersACT to provide effective respite for carers aimed at rebuilding their capacity following this extended period of stress.
The Committee recommends that the ACT government make representations to the Commonwealth supporting the conversion of NDIS advance payments for COVID-19 related expenses into a grant.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government revise its clinical guidelines in order to reassure people with a disability that they will continue to have access to health care, including emergency and critical health care, on the basis of equality with others and based on objective and non-discriminatory clinical criteria.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government ensures that any ethical decision-making framework is designed with close consultation and active involvement of people with a disability and their representative organisations.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government consider and act on the recommendations in the letter from Legal Aid appended to this report.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government continue to lower and/or remove stamp duty where possible as a lever to encourage housing sales.
The Committee recommends that the ACT Government continue to review how to make the DA process more efficient, without compromising planning outcomes.
The Committee recommends that the Minister for Planning and Land Management publish the number of lease variations issued in 2019-20 broken down by month and the value of revenue and waivers for these variations.
The Committee recommends that the Suburban Land Agency publish a list of all available residential blocks that would be suitable for purchase under the HomeBuilder program.
The Committee recommends that, given that the ACT Budget was delayed and there has not been a financial update since the March Quarter 2020 Consolidated Financial Report, the ACT Government publish the actual financial reports or estimated outcomes for the 2019-20 year in July.
The full report is available at https://www.parliament.act.gov.au/parliamentary-business/in-committees/recent-reports
The Select Committee was established by the Legislative Assembly on 2 April to provide oversight to the ACT Government’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The resolution establishing the Committee is available on the Committee’s website.
For further information please contact the Committee Secretary on (02) 6205 0129 or by email at: LACommitteeCOVID19@parliament.act.gov.au.
Thursday 2 July 2020