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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 22 November 2007) . . Page.. 3724 ..

major barrier to either becoming a nurse practitioner or performing their duties to the full.

Despite this issue, nurse practitioners continue to provide a safe and comprehensive service to the community. I look forward to reporting more to the community and the Assembly in future on nurse practitioners’ continued contribution to the health system. I also look forward to the development of more nurse practitioners and their employment across ACT Health to support us and assist us with some of the workforce shortages that are being experienced now and that will be experienced in the future.

Family and community day

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Treasurer. The second appropriation bill provides funding of $75,000 for family and community fun day. Treasurer, why is it necessary to expend public funds to celebrate a public holiday?

MR STANHOPE: The government also expends fund to celebrate Christmas. In order to give a full response and to put it in context, the government also provides funding to celebrate the most significant Christian holiday of the year, Christmas. Mrs Burke may have an issue with that.

Mr Hargreaves: Ramadan—we did Ramadan this year.

MR STANHOPE: We provide funds to celebrate Ramadan; we provide funds to celebrate Australia Day.

Ms Gallagher: Canberra Day.

MR STANHOPE: We provide funds to celebrate Canberra Day.

Ms Gallagher: Sunday in the park.

MR STANHOPE: We provide funds to celebrate Sunday in the park. We provide funds to celebrate the most significant Hindu religious festival of the year, Deepavali. We fund a range of public holidays, or celebrations of significance, that are not perhaps declared as public holidays, and we celebrate a community and family day.

In order to do justice to a question about why we as a government, on behalf of the community, provide support to celebrate family and community day, it probably requires a comparative analysis of why we as a community provide funds to celebrate Christmas, Mrs Burke. To the extent that the question was judgemental to a significant degree—about why we celebrate this particular public holiday—it does require that I ask, for the purposes of comparison or explanation, why do we utilise public funding, which of course includes the rates, payments, taxes and charges of many non-Christians, to celebrate Christmas? We do it because we are a diverse, inclusive, pluralistic community, and as a government we wish to celebrate that plurality, that inclusiveness and that diversity.

Mr Hargreaves: Not like Jackie Kelly’s husband!

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