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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3370..


Mr Smyth: Why not?

MR WOOD: That is a good question. Why not? When we had this query we said, "What a good idea. Why not?"But then we asked questions about it. This is information I have had; I will repeat what I have been told: South Australia appears to be the only state that allows this and with some reservations, I am informed. There are issues that I interpret as being related to the burning of the cardboard and the environment. Broadly, across Australia, governments do not allow cardboard coffins for cremations. I find that strange. I will not go into the technical details because I have not retained them up here.

Mr Smyth: You are the minister; change it.

Mr Corbell: I can help you with that.

MR WOOD: You can help me?

Mr Corbell: Yes.

MR WOOD: It is not approved and in response to that constituent's query we have not written back to say that we will change the rules. We have said we will hold to the present ban on cardboard coffins. Mr Corbell will give you some additional information.

MR CORBELL: We are getting very esoteric, Mr Speaker, but I will do my best.

MR SPEAKER: I have no interest in this at all.

Members interjecting-

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I will seek to obtain further information for Ms Tucker, but my recollection is that the health regulations require wooden coffins for a number of reasons. One is that, in the event of cremation, the coffin actually serves as a sufficient amount of fuel to assist with the cremation. Another is that, in relation to a burial, the containment of bodily fluids must be assured and cardboard coffins do not necessarily meet that standard.

Canberra hospitals-bed blockage

MR CORNWELL: My question is to the Minister for Health. It concerns the Commonwealth funding for the 50 transitional aged care places. What is the process and what is the time line you are going to employ? Will these be just another 50 aged care beds, added to the 200 that your government has not yet allowed to be occupied by nursing home patients?

MR CORBELL: You cannot double count them. These 50 beds are part of that 200, Mr Cornwell. As I made clear in my earlier answer, the Commonwealth has agreed to allow the funding for 50 of those 200 beds to become operational now, without the permanent facility to which those beds are allocated yet being operational.

This means that we will be using the 50 approved but not yet operational beds as transitional care beds. The details of where will be discussed between the ACT and the


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