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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 8 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 3503..


MRS DUNNE: Minister, have any specialists been asked to reclassify the category of elective surgery for their patients over the past couple of months to free up beds?

MS GALLAGHER: Not to free up beds. I do not actually understand the link between reclassifying and beds. Whether a specialist has been asked about the management of their patients in accord with the waiting list policy, I would imagine the answer is yes. But have they been asked to do that because there are no beds available? The advice to me is that the beds have not been an issue in the hospital. We have had capacity in the hospital to deal with medical and surgical admissions.

Education—outcomes

MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, we know that the ACT has an excellent education system. Can you advise the Assembly of the steps the ACT Labor government and the federal Labor government are taking to further improve ACT schools?

MR BARR: Thank you again, Ms Porter, for your ongoing interest in improving education outcomes in the ACT. I am very pleased to advise the Assembly that there are indeed great things going on in schools right across the ACT. The ACT and federal governments are working together to invest around three-quarters of a billion dollars in upgrading every school in the territory. These projects are making education better for every single student in every public and non-government school in the territory. This timely, historic and well-targeted stimulus investment is keeping thousands of Canberrans in jobs.

There is a great range of projects being delivered under the building the education revolution program. Last year I had the pleasure of opening the very first BER project completed in the ACT, and we believe completed in Australia, at the Turner school. Turner received a new shade structure which was manufactured locally. The community is also the beneficiary of a new library, thanks to a further $3 million grant from the federal government.

Turner school is a special school. It has a large proportion of students with special needs. The school does a fantastic job in catering to the needs of all its students. An important part of the education routine for many of the students at Turner involves some time in the hydrotherapy pool. That is why the ACT government has invested three-quarters of a million dollars to upgrade that hydrotherapy pool. Turner is a great example of the ACT government being able to work with the federal government to deliver better outcomes for students.

I opened the first completed BER project last year and I turned the first sod on the last one to get underway this year. That project is a $3 million environmental learning centre at the Gold Creek school. The multipurpose centre is designed to give students a place to learn hands-on about protecting the environment and growing and caring for plants. It will use the latest design techniques to save energy and water.

Because the ACT government understands the challenge of climate change, the design aims to achieve a six-star certification from the Green Building Council of Australia.


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