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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 2867..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

certainly the advice to me: that the management of the illness was being done regardless of the EEG, and that the EEG would have provided, I guess, an extra level of advice about what was going on for that child, but that the treatment had started anyway. I accept that for that family it was very distressing.

I will have a further look at how we can make sure that people's access to EEGs is done in a timely fashion, but from time to time there will be situations where people will have to wait for this service. If that is because the appropriate person is not there and is not able to perform that test, then I cannot see any other way around that, other than looking for additional staff. We have done that and we will have that in place so that, hopefully, this issue will not come up.

My advice is that the technician was not on recreation leave but was actually attending a professional seminar during the time. I think contingency measures are put in place for things like recreation leave. It was another situation which led to this occurrence. I accept the concern that it has caused the family, but I am advised that a procedure which would have been booked in early October—on 3 October—for that patient was clinically acceptable. If you have other advice, Mr Smyth, I am happy to look at that.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, given that the technician has now apparently gone on recreation leave until the first week of October, how is it that the ACT health system, which your government has put so much extra money towards, will not be able to offer EEGs in the ACT public hospital system for the next two weeks?

MS GALLAGHER: I have not been advised of that. I was unaware that the technician is unavailable now. I will take some advice on that and come back to the Assembly.

Education—indigenous students

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Chief Minister and minister for indigenous affairs. Recently on ABC radio, you said:

Indigenous students have been carefully considered in the proposed changes to the education system.

You went on to take umbrage with Save Our Schools, saying:

But to suggest that the Government has deliberately targeted Indigenous students, that we've shown no sensitivity to their particular needs in identifying schools for closure is offensive.

That was from ABC Online. Chief Minister, according to you, how then does Towards 2020 take into consideration the needs of indigenous families and their children?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mrs Burke for the question. At the outset, it needs to be said that, if there is one area of my government's performance or response to issues on indigenous disadvantaged of which I am particularly proud, it is the enormous advances which have occurred in indigenous education in the last five years. It is the outstanding success story of indigenous affairs in Australia, not just the ACT.


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