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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 May 2008) . . Page.. 1451 ..

growth in acute-care capacity. A further $10.5 million over four years will be used to boost intensive-care capacity.

Mental health services will be enhanced with an extra $8.5 million over four years.

$4.2 million will be spent to boost services to older Canberrans, with the establishment of an Older Person’s Dietetic Service, expansion of the Rapid Assessment of the Deteriorating and At-Risk (RADAR) service, physiotherapy, clinical psychology and occupational therapy services as well as the ACT Equipment Loan Service.

Cancer services are boosted, with $4.2 million for an additional three inpatient beds, better genetic testing for predisposition for cancer and greater social supports for those dealing with diagnosis.

Chronic disease management gets an extra $4.2 million over four years, to improve referrals to appropriate prevention and support services.

$4.1 million in recurrent funding and $1.8 million in capital will be allocated for a second Cardiac Catheter Laboratory, and $0.4 million in recurrent and $0.5 million in capital for a sleep studies laboratory. These initiatives will have massive flow-on benefits, reducing the duration of hospital stays, reducing Intensive Care admissions and reducing demand for interstate patient transport.

Since 2003-04, our public hospitals have achieved record levels of elective surgery. This Budget provides a further $12.6 million over four years to increase elective surgery capacity.

Mr Speaker, these investments, combined with the infrastructure investment through Building the Future, are about building a health system for the next decade.

We can’t leave the task to future decision-makers. We cannot abrogate our responsibility. It must be done now and it must be done by us. We must be ready for the future. And we will be.

Excellent Education, Quality Teaching

Mr Speaker, education is perhaps the iconic investment in the future. It gives us the means to offer opportunities for all members of our society to reach their potential, and a means for those experiencing disadvantage to improve their lives.

Education—freely given, not begrudged, not quarantined—strengthens a community, and fuels the engine of a modern economy—its labour force.

Ensuring that our schools prepare our students to be active, engaged men and women, equipped to live fulfilling lives and make a positive contribution to the community, is a priority of this Government.

The quality of a learning environment has been shown to have a positive impact on student performance. We have upgraded educational facilities, with record

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