Page 1178 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 4 May 2022
The government is proposing to write to the participants in the consultation, thanking them for their input and feeding back the important information that we heard, in line with the ACT government’s general response to consultation and the production of listening reports, and ensuring that people are fed back what we heard and to double-check that that was what they intended.
Subject, of course, to the outcome of the 2022-23 budget, construction of the pool would be expected to commence in the mid to second half of 2023, and the pool would be operational approximately in the second half of 2024—subject, of course, to development application, contractor availability, market conditions and all of those things. Additional pool user and community consultation as part of the design user group would be undertaken through the construction process. That period would also be used to consider the operational arrangements for the pool.
MS CLAY: Minister, how will the ACT government ensure that the hydrotherapy pool is accessible for those on lower incomes and reduced incomes?
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Clay for the question. As I was indicating in response to the first question, we recognise that access to hydrotherapy pools can be expensive, so we are very conscious of the need to develop a charging model that takes account of this impact. As I said we are very much aware of the importance of preventive treatment, so that individuals can avoid having to escalate to more acute care, and because preventive treatment reduces the pressure on the acute care parts of our health system.
We are also aware that some people are not going to have the capacity to pay, and some people are going to have the capacity to pay a small contribution towards their hydrotherapy support. Arthritis ACT, for example, charges clients $5.90 per session for their group work. Of course, the ACT government already works with and funds Arthritis ACT to provide hydrotherapy services on the south side. In 2021 Arthritis ACT offered 1,814 client-led hydrotherapy sessions and 135 instructor-led sessions. We are already supporting those people who have financial difficulty in accessing hydrotherapy services. Twenty per cent of the places for Arthritis ACT sessions are provided free to clients who are facing disadvantage and cannot afford the services, and other people pay $5.90 per session.
We will be having those conversations with the community around what is a reasonable charge for those people who can afford to pay. I certainly had feedback from people about models in other jurisdictions where you can buy a series of tickets, and they thought that was perfectly okay, for those who can afford to make that contribution.
MR PARTON: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, following your claims that incidents of serious assault were “very rare”, one retired principal who worked across ACT government and non-government schools for more than 40 years told the Canberra Times that they “didn't know a principal in the public system who