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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1072..


MR SPEAKER: You can ask about executive policy. The point that you are going to is that you cannot announce executive policy. But you can ask about it; you can ask for points of clarification about executive policy. Heavens above!

MR CORBELL: I think it is a bit early to tell. It depends whether or not the Commonwealth are serious about a reform discussion. If the Commonwealth are serious about a reform discussion, that is something that the territory will treat seriously, because we do acknowledge that the existing funding arrangements, and the gaps that are created for patients, for people, in the health care system between the states and territories and the Commonwealth, are a problem. If there are ways of improving that, let us have that discussion. I would welcome that, as I am sure would all my state and territory colleagues. But I think the fundamental question remains: are the federal government serious? I do not really know, but I would have to say that, based on their record of $1 billion out of the health system over the term of the current Australian health care agreement, their credibility would have to be questioned.

Sex education

MS DUNDAS: I have a question for the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services. On 22 August last year, in response to the health committee's report on school-age children, it was noted that the government would accept the idea that condoms should be made available to students in schools through sex education programs. Following the decision of late last year by Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT to stop providing sexuality education services in government schools, can the minister inform the Assembly how government schools are delivering sex education programs? Are condoms currently available, as per the government's commitment of last year?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, I am aware. I have had meetings with Sexual Health and Family Planning about their claims for extra funding to provide extra services within schools. My understanding is that there are teachers trained to provide sex education to students within schools. Some of the services that Sexual Health and Family Planning have offered in the past have been withdrawn whilst discussions are had about current funding levels to that service. In relation to the specifics about condoms being provided or whether sex education is being provided-

Ms Dundas: I asked about both.

MS GALLAGHER: Yes. I can get back to you, but my understanding is that it is being offered through the curriculum. Yes, we have lost some of the support we had from Sexual Health and Family Planning. I could not meet their claim for extra funding. They sent me a letter towards the end of last year with a demand for several hundred thousand dollars worth of funding that I could not approve, as I explained to them, outside the budgetary context. I simply did not have the money to give to them.

We had some very difficult discussions about that. I felt a bit that they had not provided it to me before; it was simply in a letter demanding this funding or threatening withdrawal. We have had a very difficult discussion. They have done what they said they needed to do in the short term and I have undertaken to look at what resources we


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