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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3841..


Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.08 to 2.30 pm.

Ministerial arrangements

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs): Mr Speaker, for the information of members-and I regret-my colleague Bill Wood, Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, is not available for question time. I will take any questions that may be directed to him.

Questions without notice

Coronial inquest-cabinet briefing

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope. Chief Minister, counsel assisting the coroner, Lex Lasry, has stated that cabinet was briefed on the fires of 18 January and that he hoped the briefing would be provided. Is the government prepared to cooperate fully with the coronial inquest so that the people of Canberra can find out the details and ensure the events of January 18 are never repeated; or do you intend to hide behind the smokescreen of cabinet confidentiality in this particular matter?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Stefaniak, for the question. Yes, the government intends to fully cooperate with the inquiry and we will, of course, respond to all requests made of us by the inquiry.

SmartStart for kids program

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education, Ms Gallagher. Minister, the recent and growing interest shown both by the Commonwealth and this government in the area of child obesity is encouraging. This issue is extremely important for the future health of our community.

In the ACT, we are lucky to have a program which is in its fourth year of operation in some of our schools, and run by one of our famous Canberrans, Robert de Castella. This program is SmartStart for kids and it has now collected information on over 21,000 children in the ACT. This information, collected by Rob and his team, provides an extensive longitudinal database which could be very useful to our educators and health providers. This program has been very well received by the participating kids, parents, teachers, Diabetes Australia, the National Heart Foundation, and all the usual interested bodies.

This issue is one which is on everybody's lips. Everyone is talking about the problem but we seem to have difficulty doing something about it. This particular program has been presented to three ministers in this government and has received a favourable response from all. Minister, this is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at improving the health and welfare of our kids. Is this government going to introduce this program into ACT schools?


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