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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4027..


MS DUNDAS

(continuing):

In an ever-increasing bid for market share and sales, pharmaceuticals, as with petrol and liquor, would simply become another product to stock on the shelves, without thought to the medicinal needs of the community. I think that we do need to remember that the core issue here is the provision of services and medicines to the community. A review of the legislation done quickly by the government so that the ACT Assembly can be informed of the situation in the territory in relation to supermarkets in pharmacies would be a very helpful step in this ongoing debate.

MRS CROSS

(3.44), in reply: I thank all members for their support of this motion and the health minister, Mr Corbell, for coming to a compromise on it. I am very grateful to the minister for that. I thank Ms Tucker, Ms Dundas and the Liberal opposition. Above all, I thank my senior adviser, Helen Moore, who was able to work out a compromise on this motion. There was a bit of a hiccup, but we were able to resolve the issue. I extend my deep thanks to Helen for all her work on this motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Motion agreed to.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Lecturers-screening

MS GALLAGHER

: Yesterday, during question time, I took on notice a question from Ms Dundas relating to the policy on volunteers in government schools. Ms Dundas asked me whether university lecturers who supervise trainee teachers in government schools are screened for relevant criminal convictions before being allowed into government schools. The answer to that is that, at the moment, university lecturers do not directly supervise trainee teachers in government schools. However, university staff are present on school premises during preservice teacher placements for assessment purposes.

The Department of Education, Youth and Family Services is currently negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the University of Canberra regarding the placement of preservice teachers and the screening issue will be addressed through that. The department is also developing a visitors to school policy and a screening of university staff will be addressed as part of that process.

The second part of the question related to whether the department had policies in place to deal with instances where a person who has contact with schoolchildren has been charged with a sexual offence but has not yet been convicted. The ACT spent convictions legislation does not make provision for employers to be provided with details and charges where there has been no conviction. Under the Public Sector Management Act, ACT government agencies are required to satisfy themselves that all potential employees are fit and proper persons.

Extensive training has been provided to teacher recruitment officers regarding a range of pre-employment checks. Besides the police criminal history check, these include referee checks and character checks with previous employers. Potential issues such as gaps in employment are identified and followed through prior to employment. Procedures are


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