Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 3722..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
ago. But I believe this plume first came to notice before self-government. As I say, I am not sure; I am going on memory.
The plume has existed for years and years. The Department of Territory and Municipal Services, the Department of Urban Services—that department in its many guises—has sought to manage this plume in all that time. The point has arrived, through the second appropriation bill, where, for the first time in all those years, we have decided to seek to deal with the plume in a concrete, significant and final way.
I do not have the dates and the time lines with me. This is an issue that every government has been aware of for well in excess of a decade; I would think since before self-government. We have now decided to fully fund the remediation of the site, even though it has been a matter of issue and concern to every government that I am aware of.
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. I thank the Treasurer and Chief Minister for that answer. Given that this has been around for a long time—or more from what you are saying—why are you funding it now? Why have you waited until now to fund it in the second appropriation bill, rather than have it as part of the normal budget?
MR STANHOPE: I will need to get some advice on the technical aspects and detail of the management of this particular plume. I do not have those with me and I do not have them in my head. This has been an ongoing management issue for territory and municipal services. As I say—I am sorry I do not have the date with me—I know it was an issue when I came into this place 10 years ago. It predates me. I think this issue has been with us for perhaps 20 years. This is a pre-self-government issue. It has been managed by every government since it was first revealed as an issue of some concern. It has been managed I think through ventilation and other remediation.
An opportunity has arisen, through the second appropriation bill, to deal with an issue of some significance but which previously was not regarded as absolutely critical—and we are dealing with it. It is as simple as that.
MS MacDONALD: My question is to Ms Gallagher in her capacity as Minister for Health. Minister, could you update the Assembly on progress with the implementation of the nurse practitioner role in our health system?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. In recent years, the ACT government has introduced the first nurse practitioners into the ACT health system. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse educated to function autonomously and work collaboratively in an advanced and extended clinical role as an expert member of a multidisciplinary healthcare team. Their introduction is part of our commitment to continuously modernising and improving our healthcare system. In particular, it reflects our support for and encouragement of our nursing workforce.
We have 17 nurse practitioners registered with the nurses and midwives board in the ACT, with five currently practising. One works in the private aged care system; the