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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1217..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

remembrance and thanksgiving ceremony being held at the Australian War Memorial next Friday, 12 May.

To celebrate midwives day and begin nurses and midwives week, I will announce the first nurse practitioners of the ACT. Nurse practitioners are experienced registered nurses who have acquired extensive clinical nursing experience and completed additional education to enable them to function autonomously in an expert clinical role.

This is the culmination of over six years of planning, research and policy development, legislative and regulatory changes and extensive educational preparation for the nurse practitioners. The introduction of nurse practitioners provides an exciting opportunity to explore innovative models of service delivery across the ACT. It continues the development of the ACT as a centre for excellence in nursing and midwifery practice.

The final report for the aged care nurse practitioner pilot project, a 12-month research project undertaken by the ACT government in collaboration with the Australian government Department of Health and Ageing will be released tomorrow. This is an important piece of work, as Australia is facing significant progressive change in the demographics of the population, and the ACT is no exception with rapid growth in the oldest age group. This pilot demonstrates our government's commitment to consider all policy options to confront these issues.

I will also launch the ACT Council for Nurses and Midwives strategic directions document. The council was formed to help set direction and shape the future for nurses and midwives in the region. This document will set the purpose for council during the next 18 months.

I do not think any of us here can overestimate the contribution nurses and midwives make to the community. I encourage all members to get involved in this week of celebration to recognise their significant contribution.

Schools—closures

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Earlier today Mr Hargreaves said that the new minister for education would not live long enough to see members of the opposition come on board in relation to public education. So it is worth noting that four of the five Dunne children have attended or do attend government schools and I have not been stinting in my praises. So I suppose I should ask him whether he will now commit ritual harakiri. Instead, I will ask about school closures.

Minister, the Mt Neighbour, Taylor and Urambi primary schools clustered in Kambah and Charnwood, Flynn and Mt Rogers schools clustered in north-west Belconnen have all been identified as having low enrolments. Given your emphasis on numbers of empty desks—that seems to be the only emphasis—will you rule out closing all three of the schools in these two clusters in your program, which you now unfortunately call the hit list of school closures?

MR BARR: Mr Speaker, I must correct Mrs Dunne. Again, there is no hit list of schools. I said there is no hit list and there is not a hit list of schools. I will return to the point I made in response to Mrs Burke's question. We will need to address the provision of


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