Page 2716 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005

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MR CORBELL: I have received representations on this issue in the last couple of months. I will check the record; I think it was from the constituents themselves rather than from Mr Smyth. I do not think that Mr Smyth has previously raised this issue with me, although I will need to check.

My understanding is that asthma services are now delivered through a much wider range of mechanisms than previously existed. Indeed, the important thing to look at here is the level of presentations for asthma-related conditions at emergency departments in Canberra. We have seen a very significant reduction in the number of presentations to emergency departments in Canberra due to asthma-related conditions.

That is in my view, and on the advice of my department, a very clear indicator that the more comprehensive range of asthma education now being undertaken—rather than having asthma education in the emergency departments or in the hospitals themselves—is making the difference. The level of presentation, and therefore the effective management of asthma-related conditions, has been improved because of the alternative arrangements in place.

I am happy to take on notice the detail of those changes and provide them to Mr Smyth and to members. But I stress that, firstly, there has been no recent change in asthma education. Indeed, these changes have been in place for some time—certainly well over a year; in fact, I think it is much longer than that. Secondly, the level of presentation of asthma-related complaints in emergency departments has dramatically decreased over that same period. To me, this indicates that people are getting the assistance they need in managing their asthma conditions better, and that is leading to less need to present to emergency departments in the first place.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, in light of your answer, could you please provide the Assembly with the figures for presentation, say for the last 12 months since the changes have been made?

MR CORBELL: Again, I have to clarify to Mr Smyth that, to the best of my recollection, that is the time period. But I have a feeling it may be longer than that, so I will get the full details for Mr Smyth and provide that information to him on notice.


DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. The recent announcement that the ACT government plans to build a state-of-the-art school in west Belconnen has generated considerable concern regarding school closures. The projected capacity of the new school is 1,500 students, preschool to year 10. We have been told that the only schools that will close are Ginninderra district high and Holt and Higgins primary schools. Before the government even starts obtaining projected school enrolments for 2009, the total number of students who would otherwise attend Ginninderra district high and Holt and Higgins primary schools is just 501.

Can the minister please detail where the additional 1,000 students are expected to come from to attend the new school and give us an idea of what impact this is likely to have on other local schools and preschools?

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