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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4693 ..

Mr Berry: You have had two today - one from me and one from her.

MRS CARNELL: Except for you two, I have not had any reports of clinical waste from our hospital system or from the public system in the ACT ending up at the tip. It is very hard to answer a question on a situation that has not been reported to me. I would be interested to know how anybody would actually know where the alleged waste came from.

Students with Disabilities - Integration Program

MR WOOD: My question is directed to the Minister for Education. Minister, in line with previous assurances, do you remain committed to the expansion of the integration program whereby students with disabilities are integrated into mainstream schools?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. Mr Wood, you are well aware that under this Government students with severe disabilities needing the maximum amount of assistance have increased from 27 to 31. I am pleased to say that under this Government considerable progress has been made in further assisting students with various types of disabilities to integrate into mainstream settings in the ACT. I understand that over 60 per cent of students with various disabilities are in mainstream settings. Mr Wood, you will also be well aware that in the secondary senior college sector Dickson College and Phillip College are now running very good programs for kids with disabilities.

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, I missed the statistics Mr Stefaniak gave at the beginning of his answer. It may be that they are the answer to my supplementary question. I am referring specifically to the integration program - a program commenced by the former Labor Government - not to other programs in schools and colleges. How many extra places were made available this year, 1996, and how many extra places and the resources for them will be made available next year? You will recall that in government the Labor Party was adding about six new people to that program each year.

MR STEFANIAK: I thank Mr Wood for the question. Mr Wood, yes, you are quite right. We added four people, taking the number to 31 this year, 1996. You might also be aware, Mr Wood, that an extensive review of special education has been conducted this year by Dr Andrews. That review has gone through a number of stages. The final draft recommendations have been released so that people can have their final say on them. That review has made specific recommendations about the integration program. I do not wish to pre-empt the consultation process. I look forward to receiving community views on integrating special needs students into mainstream schools. I have had discussions with a number of people over the last couple of months in relation to it, and I look forward to seeing the final results of that consultation process.

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