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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 3 Hansard (16 March) . . Page.. 884..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

I should say, though, that the capacity that has been created by having our three linear accelerators on line—and remember that that was a $30 million project that was built on time and under budget—and the extra staff that we have in place have meant that until January this year, for the 12 months prior to that, not one patient was referred interstate for reasons of waiting list delays. That shows that, with the capacity we have created and with the extra staff, we are moving to improve all of that. If you look at that, we have gone from 31 patients regularly being transferred interstate in 2006 to none for the 12 months to this year. Yes, we are undergoing a couple of months of pressure, but I understand, and I am advised, that, once the staff are in place and with three machines working, it will be much better on track in terms of looking for alternate venues for people to get their treatment if they are not able to be treated on time. I know that the unit down there is working very hard to minimise any disruption to people's lives and look at how we can support them.

MS BRESNAN: Supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, will there be a risk management plan put in place around staffing so that if this situation does occur again we do not have the same outcome?

MS GALLAGHER: In short, yes. The recruitment process was well underway before the two planned resignations, which were the retirements. The thing that I think compounded the problem was that we had four sudden resignations that were not seen. If we had only had the two planned resignations, the rest of the workload could have been managed with the complement of staff that was left. But, when we lost an additional four—and they only had to give two weeks notice—that did compound the problems in February.

So, yes, we are looking at all of that and changing the systems as they need to be changed. But I am very thankful that a wide selection process was well underway because it has meant that we have been able to replace—and, as I said, I understand six staff have accepted offers to come and work at the Canberra Hospital. And we will continue to recruit for some additional positions on top of that.

Community services

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the minister for community services. Can the minister please inform the Assembly about the schools as communities grants funding program?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hargreaves for his interest in schools as communities. The schools as communities program delivers individual, family and group work to children who are vulnerable in selected primary schools across the ACT. The program uses an outreach model with skilled professionals that are linked to identified primary schools.

The strategic projects funding program has been an integral part of the schools as communities program since 2001. The overall objectives of the strategic projects are


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