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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3314..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

There are also significant benefits to be had in medical training and research. The costs of equipment, payments for service delivery, the revenue stream and staff-related costs are managed within the level of funding that Calvary currently has available to pay for pathology services.

Drought

MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Wood. Minister, members are very well aware of the severe drought conditions prevailing across most of New South Wales and that areas adjacent to the ACT have been declared drought affected. Can you inform the house of the situation in the ACT?

MR WOOD: I am sure that members know it is pretty dry. That rain a week or two ago was a big help, but still only a temporary help. It looks like it is going to get worse.

Conditions in the ACT will continue to be monitored by Environment ACT, which has the responsibility of looking at this and making any recommendations. It is not proposed right now to declare a drought, although it is recognised that feed levels on farms are low, following the recent hard winter. But we will review the situation in October and November.

As you indicate, Ms Gallagher, areas to the east and north of the ACT in New South Wales have been declared drought affected by their government. Nevertheless, I understand that drought assistance is not available to an area that has being drought declared for some six months.

Drought was last declared in the ACT in 1998-by Mr Smyth, I presume-between April and October. The ACT government did not provide subsidies to farmers during that drought period.

Factors to be taken into account when considering a drought declaration include rainfall and evaporation over the last two seasons, soil moisture and farm dam water levels, paddock and feed conditions and the views of ACT rural lessees.

If the need arises as we monitor the situation, I will declare a drought in the ACT, after taking advice from Environment ACT.

Children's and family services in Gungahlin

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services. Minister, children's and family services in Gungahlin had been neglected under the previous government. Can you inform the Assembly how this government is reversing this neglect?

MR CORBELL: Under the previous government we saw a singular level of neglect. They made no effort whatsoever to address the issues facing children and families in the Gungahlin area, despite the fact that the Gungahlin region has the highest birth rate of any district in the ACT and is the fastest growing area of the ACT. Indeed, even when


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