Page 178 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2012

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they think opportunities for private midwives can be provided through the public health system.

As Ms Bresnan would know, this will require the support of the practising obstetricians. We have not reached that at this point. However, I have met with the clinical director of the area and talked with him about having some further consultations around this within the directorate and within his staff areas to garner some support. I see my role in this area at the moment as a bit of a facilitator of those discussions. At the end of the day these will be decisions taken by the clinicians themselves.

MR HARGREAVES: Supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Chief Minister and Minister for Health. In the context of your answer on the Health portfolio, Chief Minister, are there any other similar areas of critical government service where jobs have been expanded?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. I again go back to the issue that we have been talking about for some years now, around how we contain staffing numbers but allow growth to occur in key areas of service delivery. There is a commitment from the government that we will need to constrain any growth overall in the ACT public service, but there are key areas where we expect continued growth. They are in what we would see as obvious areas like health and education, but we are also seeing growth in areas like community services, child protection, and therapy—the therapy assistance program. What we are keen on doing, and we will do this through the budget process in responding to some of the challenges presented in the budget update, is making sure that where new funding goes it is going to those front-line services and that overall our allocations of staff remain static.

We are very pleased as a Labor government to be supporting jobs in the territory. We want to see confidence maintained in our economy. Our economy is very strong. We have a very strong balance sheet. Our budget overall is robust. We have a role to play. The ACT public service and the ACT government have a role to play in ensuring that jobs are at the forefront of every decision we take.

Australia Day—protest

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the minister for Indigenous affairs. Yesterday you refused to answer a number of questions about your office’s involvement in the protest at the Lobby Restaurant on Australia Day and you have failed to answer a number of questions today. Minister, did the Prime Minister’s office contact Mr Garrett Purtill of your office?

DR BOURKE: I thank the member for her question. I am not going to be naming members of my office in this matter.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

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