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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 August 2006) . . Page.. 2458 ..

We provide postgraduate education programs for nurses and midwives in critical care and neonatal intensive care in conjunction with the University of Canberra. We have also established 11 single and multisite dedicated education units to provide a structured learning environment in partnership between ACT Health and the University of Canberra for undergraduate nursing and midwifery education and support. A dedicated education liaison nurse is assigned for each unit. This nurse supports and supervises students in the workplace.

We have also provided clinical placements for students enrolled in allied health, nursing and midwifery courses. We have allocated $500,000 across four years to provide refresher re-entry programs for nurses and midwives who wish to return to work after a period of absence. The refresher nurse program was accredited in September 2005. Five registered nurses have completed the course, another four are progressing and a further 10 are new starters. The refresher work force program was accredited in April 2006 and the first midwife refresher started at that time. Two more midwives are currently undertaking the theoretical component of the program and are about to begin their clinical placements. Three nurses are currently undertaking the re-entry program at the University of Canberra.

Finally, the postgraduate nursing and midwifery scholarship scheme provides $500,000 per annum to assist nurses and midwives to undertake postgraduate studies. Three hundred thousand dollars of this is provided for mental health, and $200,000 for all other nurses and midwives. In recognition of the increased demand in the general scholarship scheme, the Positive Professional Development Pathway scheme was introduced in October 2005. This scheme provides advance payment of course tuition fees, which are then reimbursed through regular fortnightly payroll deductions during the course of the study. We have also included in the budget, which we will be debating this week, initiatives over four years to further address health work force recruitment and retention initiatives.

We are doing a range of things to encourage retraining and re-entry for nurses and midwives who may have been in other jobs or out of the work force for some time. That is part of the solution to how we provide maternity services in the ACT, how we provide enough midwives to staff the demands for choices the women in the ACT want around the CMP. As I said, even if we expanded the program in the next month or so, we would not have the staff to staff it. We need to work on that, as well as look at how we provide the full range of services to women who are having children in the ACT.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Planning—EpiCentre lease

MR CORBELL: In question time last Thursday, I took on notice a question that Mr Smyth asked me about an inquiry made by ING of ACTPLA in relation to discount outlet retailing. Mr Smyth asked, firstly, whether I could confirm that the LDA did in fact reply to ING; secondly, what the response said with regard to the request from ING; and, thirdly, whether I would table this correspondence in the Assembly. The answers to Mr Smyth’s questions are: yes, the LDA did reply to ING; the LDA response was as per

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