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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (30 May) . . Page.. 1201..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

In the next year there were 768, so that is a little decline. The year after that there were 710. The year after that there were 675. In 2000-01, it was a little bit up, to 680. When Humphries took over as Chief Minister, we hit the all-time low of 670 beds. When you take the lowest point from the highest point, 110 beds went missing over the term of the Carnell-Humphries government—100 beds! Over the past few years Mr Smyth has been wracked with guilt. He just wants to replace the 100 that were taken out. This is not 100 new beds; it is the 100 they removed. One hundred acute care beds were lost from the system.

The story then improves through the investment that the ACT government has made, with the number back up to about 714. The data indicates that it is just over 700. We will see those numbers increase as all the beds that we have currently funded come online. So the history of beds is that 110 beds were lost under the Liberal government. This government has been investing and we are back up to 126 extra funded beds.

We will have to do more. We can see the guilt, but you probably need to move on, Mr Smyth. We have addressed your problem. We have replaced your 110 missing beds. It has taken us some time, because it does take some time to commission beds, but you need to move on and think of a new health policy. At least the new shadow needs to think of a new health policy. You should accept that we have fixed the problem. We have replaced more than your 110 missing beds. We have added 126, and there will be more to come.

Schools—closures

MR PRATT: My question is directed to the Minister for Education and Training. The ACT government's Towards 2020 policy saw the closure of many ACT schools last year, resulting in many students having to change schools. Transition payments were promised for all students moving from closed schools to another ACT government primary school. Minister, why did some families not receive their transition payment for many months after the commencement of school this year?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Pratt for joining the education revolution. What are we seeing today? We have had nothing for five months and then it is five questions in a row. I thank Mr Pratt for his interest in transition support and for drawing again to the Assembly's attention the fact that the government provided $750 in transitional assistance to each student who was affected and required to move to a new school.

Mr Pratt has identified that a number of students—I think it was about 560 to 600 students—were affected in this first year of the process. It is a figure of that order. Yes, it is just under 600. Parents were provided with the opportunity to apply for transitional assistance.

Mr Pratt: Why were they late?

MR BARR: The criterion for the transitional assistance required confirmation of enrolment at another ACT government school, not just a primary school; if you were in a high school that was affected, such as those at Kambah high for the end of this year, it could mean transition to a high school, but largely for 2006 into 2007 it was primary school students.


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