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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1216..

MR BARR (continuing):

for change and I will seek to engage in the best means of delivering the highest quality public education in those areas.

That is a fundamental commitment that I announced in my inaugural speech. Consistent throughout my time as education minister will be that the fundamental driving principle has to be a strong public eduction system. If we do not deliver that, then we have failed as a government. My view is that that has to be front and centre of everything that we are about as a government; that is, strong public education. But that does not mean that things will stay the same.

Mrs Burke: So they will be guaranteed of one school at least.

MR BARR: It does not mean that things will stay the same forever, but one thing I will absolutely guarantee is that public education will be strengthened across the territory.

International Midwives Day

MS MacDONALD: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, I understand that tomorrow is International Midwives Day, which will begin celebrations for International Nurses and Midwives Week. Could you inform the Assembly of events that are taking place across the territory to acknowledge the excellent work of nurses and midwives?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. I understand that there are around 5,000 nurses and midwives working in various settings across the community. They hold an important place in the lives of their patients and clients. They are there at some of the most exciting times of our lives and some of the most painful. This dedicated week focuses attention on the value and achievements of nursing and midwifery and provides great opportunities for nurses and midwives to showcase both their profession and their work and to have their contribution recognised by the community.

Anyone who has had the fortune, or misfortune, as the case may be, to spend time being nursed, whether at home, in a community setting or in a hospital, will accept that nurses have one of the most difficult jobs in our community. To be a good nurse and provide that level of care that is required in often very stressful situations requires skill and dedication that many of us do not have.

This week there will be a series of presentations, speeches and events around the topic of nurses and midwives. Highlights include the inaugural ACT Midwives and Nurses Week Oration by Adjunct Professor Belinda Moyes. She will speak on preparing for the future.

On Tuesday, 9 May, the second ACT nurses and midwives award ceremony will recognise excellence amongst nurses and midwives in the ACT. The awards include Nurse of the Year, Midwife of the Year and excellence awards in the areas of management, education, clinical nursing, research in nursing and the award for the best nursing team.

On the morning of Friday, 12 May is International Nurses Day Royal College of Nursing breakfast with the theme People, places & power—protecting the public or protecting ourselves, with guest speaker Vanessa Owen. Finally, I look forward to attending the

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