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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 6 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 2082..


MR BARR (continuing):

Mr Battenally, who indicated that this issue of parental involvement on school boards and P&C councils has been an issue for a long time. He commented, and I agree with his assessment, that there are a range of societal changes, including the fact that often both parents are working and have other commitments, and that they might in fact have to incur costs, personal costs, in terms of both time and lost income, to be involved in their school community. That is why, in response to some of those issues, I raised for discussion and consideration in the review of school-based management that it would be appropriate to consider this, on a school-by-school basis. It would be a matter for each individual school to determine.

I restate my earlier comment: if the Liberal Party are opposed to this, let them come out and say so. But I suspect that what you will get is the usual carping from the shadow Treasurer: "We won't actually put forward a substantive position on the policy issue we are debating. We'll just carp on the sidelines."It is opposition for opposition's sake; we hear it time and time again. It is no wonder that this man is the biggest loser in ACT politics. This is the man who has lost more elections than the rest of us combined.

Health—Indigenous

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and concerns Indigenous health. Minister, I am sure you are aware of the national campaign to close the gap, which focuses on improving Indigenous health services. The Indigenous health equality statement, a key to the campaign, was signed in March 2008 by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and Jenny Macklin, the federal minister for Indigenous affairs. Minister, has the ACT government signed on to this statement; if so, when?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. The closing the gap health initiative is an initiative that was pursued through COAG. The ACT government is a partner to it, if it is the same agreement that Ms Le Couteur is referring to, and I will just check that. There is a multiplicity of agreements, particularly national partnership agreements and partnerships, that have been entered into through COAG. There is a national partnership agreement in relation to health in closing the gap. These are agreements that the ACT government, along with all the other states and territories, have negotiated with the commonwealth. We are party and signatory to them. I will need to take some advice as to the specifics of Ms Le Couteur's question in relation to the precise nature of the particular agreement she refers to and the timing of the signature. But, yes, the ACT government is strongly committed to closing the gap in relation to Indigenous health.

We as a government have invested enormously heavily through the department of health in relation to the mainstream provision of services, and particularly in relation to the significant support which we provide within the ACT to Winnunga Nimmityjah. I am sure you are aware of the status and the stature of the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service within the ACT. It is held as a model, and, indeed, has been so successful, particularly under the stewardship of Judy Harris and Julie Tong, that Julie Tong is now being quite deliberately headhunted as an advocate and as a manager. Most recently she has been spirited off to Brisbane to achieve for the


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