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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 4593 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

affecting the ACT is very serious. We have gone out of our way to indicate how serious the issues are of water and water supply. It is as a result of that that we have, over this last year, in consultation with the Canberra community, in partnership with the people of Canberra, engaged in a range of water restrictions and engaged with the water supply issues.

That is why we have developed, for the first time, an overarching water strategy to take us into the future in relation to the need to sustain water usage and to ensure a sustainable water supply for the people of Canberra for now and into the future, for the sakes of our children and our grandchildren.

So, no, Mrs Dunne, nothing of the considerable work that we have done in relation to water has been designed to paint a rosy picture, because there is not a rosy picture to be painted. This is a very serious issue and it will continue to be a serious issue for some time to come.

Student privacy

MS DUNDAS: Mr Speaker, through you, my question is to the minister for education. Minister, the ACT Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 requires that reasonable measures be used to prevent records about a person's disability being disclosed or misused. Can you confirm that information collected through the student centred assessment of needs process is stored by name rather than some other method to protect privacy, such as a number, and, considering a range of people can access this information for a range of reasons, why this occurs?

MS GALLAGHER: I think I received your letter relating to this on Monday morning. I have asked for some advice on it. My understanding was that the way that data was being recorded would ensure the privacy of the students. Since you have written to me with some fairly specific allegations about the way that information is being recorded I have asked the department to provide me with some advice, which I haven't received yet.

I have been through the process of the recording of that information, the way they do it on computer, and I have certainly been assured that this was a very tight process in terms of ensuring that that information couldn't be used either to alert people as to whom that student was or to give out other information that that family and that student may have considered private.

I am concerned by the letter you have written to me, and I will certainly get back to you as soon as I can with the information. On those specifics as to names, the encryption or the numbering, I don't know the answer.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Dundas?

MS DUNDAS: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank the minister for agreeing to look further into this issue. Can you inform the Assembly whether or not the education department is now planning to audit the security of data relating to students, not just in relation to disability but a whole range of issues, and whether or not the information stored by the education department about students is being properly stored under privacy regulations?

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