Page 235 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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Health—allied health building at University of Canberra

MS MacDONALD: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. Minister, you recently turned the first sod for the construction of a new health building annex at the University of Canberra. Could you tell the Assembly how this building will benefit the people of Canberra?

MR CORBELL: Since it has been in office, the government has focused a strong program on improving our health work force. The most recent part of that strategy came to fruition only last week, with the commencement of construction of a new allied health building annex at the University of Canberra. This has been made possible through a $10 million grant by the ACT government. It is part of our strategy to increase the number of allied health professionals here in the ACT.

This building will house a raft of disciplines within the allied health area, including physiotherapy, pharmacy, nutrition, psychology and sports science. It will be co-located with the existing nursing and midwifery building, a building also funded by the previous Follett Labor government. This new building is expected to be complete by the end of 2006. The new allied health facility is expected to take its first students at the beginning of 2007.

This new building is an important facility. It will be four storeys. It will augment the existing architecture of the surrounding landscape. The range of facilities will include a food science training room and kitchen preparation for nutrition and dietetics courses, a physiotherapy gym, a gym teaching section, and training rooms. There will also be a teaching clinic with reception and waiting area, which will be used by a range of allied health disciplines, at which students under professional supervision can treat members of the general public.

It will also have a sports treating laboratory with a run-out track, a 229-person lecture theatre to be used for health and nursing courses, a dispensing and medical review laboratory for pharmacy students, an allied health research space, staff offices and common areas.

This is an important investment in the future of the ACT health work force. We know that across the health work force, whether it is medical students, allied health students or nursing students, we face some real pressures. When it comes to allied health, this investment in the new allied health facility will greatly improve the capacity for us to train people here in Canberra in those important services of pharmacy, nutrition, physiotherapy and so on. It will allow us to keep those people here in Canberra. It builds on the other investment the government has made through medical teaching with the new medical school facilities at the Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital.

These two investments by the ACT Labor government will ensure that into the future our city will have the capacity to train its own work force in the health area. No longer will we be completely hostage to having to attract health and medical students and allied health students from other places to come and work here in Canberra. We will have the capacity to grow our own. That is so important for the future of public health services here in the city. This latest investment by the Stanhope government is an important

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