Page 4537 - Week 14 - Thursday, 28 November 2013

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Ms Burch: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

The ACT Government prepares its budget on an output basis. Data at that level is published in the Budget Papers, along with budgeted financial statements for agencies. More detailed information on activities within outputs is available in annual reports. This includes audited financial statements. Data is not available in the form and at the level requested without diversion of significant resources from the Education and Training Directorate’s ongoing business that I am not prepared to authorise.

Questions without notice taken on notice

Emergency services—resignations

Mr Corbell (in reply to a supplementary question by Mr Smyth on Wednesday, 23 October 2013): The positions of Deputy Chief Officer of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Deputy Chief Officer of the State Emergency Service (SES) have been filled in accordance with sections 53 and 58 of the

Emergencies Act 2004.

The former ACTSES Deputy Chief Officer (DCO) resigned from the SES with effect from 31 October 2013 to pursue other career opportunities. The Deputy Chief Officer role is a public service position. An acting DCO arrangement was put in place from 1 November 2013.

The former ACTRFS DCO retired from this position in July 2013. This position is currently being filled in an acting capacity by the RFS Operations Manager. The RFS DCO role is also a public service position.

Health—reusable bags

Ms Gallagher (in reply to a supplementary question by Mr Smyth on Thursday, 31 October 2013): I undertook to check the form in which advice was provided to me on the link between reusable bags and food borne illness and provide that advice to the Assembly.

In March 2013, ACT Health provided me with formal advice in response to the publication of a research paper which concluded that following the ban of plastic grocery bags in San Francisco, there was a significant increase in deaths and emergency room visits caused by food borne pathogens. The authors had attributed this to the increasing use of reusable bags which they thought may be contaminated with bacteria causing food borne illness.

The information contained in the research paper was analysed by ACT Health. Advice to me suggested that the research paper does not provide valid data that could conclusively prove that an increase in the use of reusable bags has led to any increase in food borne illness or deaths. In addition, ACT Health advised me that the San Francisco Department of Health had noted the study’s limitations - especially that the data used by the authors in calculating deaths associated with gastrointestinal illness

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