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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3714..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

in 1983 and the second audit was completed in 1990. Asbestos was found in several schools and action was taken at that time to remove any material that posed an immediate risk. The material that remained was confined to wall and ceiling material and to floor tiles.

The ACT Chief Health Officer has advised that asbestos contained in sound and stable material does not present a health risk. Damaged sheeting that releases fibres therefore presents a risk. At the time, a register of all asbestos in schools was produced. In October 2003, as part of the department's school building condition assessment program, a review of asbestos material was commenced to update the asbestos register. That periodic review is consistent with recommended practice in managing asbestos in buildings.

In relation to the specific schools mentioned by Mr Stefaniak, an upgrade of the Yarralumla primary school was undertaken as part of the 2001-02 capital works program. Asbestos material in poor condition was found and removed in accordance with accepted practice. It was discovered in the ceiling linings and eaves of the behavioural management unit that is located next to the preschool wing. In 1998-99 Narrabundah College received a major upgrade and asbestos material was found. Work was suspended until the buildings were investigated and reported on by Robson Laboratories Pty Ltd.

Its report highlighted only one item for immediate action, that is, damaged asbestos cement sheets. Other asbestos material was found to be in a stable condition. The damaged sheets were removed and since then the college has maintained a program to replace damaged sheets. In 2003, during an older schools upgrade at Dickson College, licensed operators removed toilet partitions containing asbestos material. The work that is done as part of contracted works during major upgrades is normal practice when material in poor or deteriorating condition is found. That action is consistent with advice and recommendations that have been received from Robson Laboratories.

Child protection

MS GALLAGHER: On Thursday 5 August Mr Cornwell asked me a question about the child protection recruitment process. I have been advised that no applicants applying for child protection casework positions have been rejected because they were overqualified.

The selection of applicants is carried out in accordance with the definition of merit in section 65 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994. In short-listing for interview and in making overall selection decisions the panel considers the relevance of any qualification to the duties of the position. Frontline child protection positions require relevant tertiary qualifications. Current members of staff have a wide range of relevant qualifications ranging from social work and psychology to nursing, teaching and community development. This government is not in the practice of ruling out candidates with relevant qualifications and strong claims to the position.

All candidates are encouraged to seek feedback from the selection panel regarding its selection decision. That offer has remained open to any candidate seeking a position in recent months. Panel chairpersons for recent recruitment rounds have confirmed that they have provided detailed feedback to unsuccessful candidates reflecting on the


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