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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2180 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: As I said the other day, in the middle of a campaign like this lots of misinformation gets thrown around. To be quite frank with you, I have the gravest doubts about whether any senior officer in the Emergency Services Bureau would run around producing figures showing a $500,000 reduction in the fire service or any other part of my portfolio. I have to say to you that I would treat the authenticity of those figures with the very greatest of care. I would treat reports about so-called shortages of staff or positions not being filled with the same very great caution. I am not aware of any reduction of that kind, and I think we have to be very cautious before we make any assumptions based on the kind of information which does get pushed out in the interests of parties in these kinds of negotiations.

Belconnen Traffic Centre

MR RUGENDYKE: My question is to the Education Minister, Mr Stefaniak. It relates to the Belconnen traffic centre. I inspected the facility recently and the amenities were in appalling condition. The wires of traffic lights are exposed, the roof of the building leaks, tiles on the floor are lifting, the toilets are in poor condition and the general maintenance of the facility is shoddy. The facility is used primarily by children to learn road safety and traffic awareness and is used during school hours and will be used extensively during the upcoming school holidays. Minister, I would like to know how much has been spent on maintenance and upkeep of the traffic centre since your department took responsibility for the facility and how much has been allocated so far for maintenance in the future.

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. We have a general maintenance budget, Mr Rugendyke. When work needs to be done, especially if there are safety concerns, arrangements are made to ensure that that does occur. We inherited the centre, I understand, on 4 July this year from another department. Maybe it is a bit of a shame that they perhaps did not give it to us in pristine condition. I was interested to see your piece in the Belconnen Chronicle in relation to the centre, certainly in relation to the wires. I understand there is a school holiday program. As a result of concerns that you raised, I understand that we are looking at ensuring that it is safe for the program. Now we have control of that particular facility, we will be looking to see what long-term maintenance needs to be done. Any safety issues will need to be taken care of as a matter of urgency, and longer-term maintenance will be done in the normal course of events.

Canberra Hospital - Nurses Dispute

MR BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care. It is an industrial relations question in relation to his portfolio of health. Will the Minister advise the Assembly how what really was a rather pompous publicly announced embargo on talking to the nurses union will contribute to the resolution of the nurses dispute? As I recall it, you said you would not talk to them.

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