Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 May 2015) . . Page.. 1413 ..

require assistance with health care while they are at school. We are committed to making sure children with special needs get the right type of clinical care and educational support they need.

I have moved an amendment which reflects the issues I have just addressed in my comments and, in addition, proposes that, as the Minister for Health, I report back to this Assembly by the last sitting day in August on the outcomes of the ongoing consultation and further engagement with students, their parents and carers, teachers, nurses, unions and other interested parties. That is my commitment. I will keep working with students, parents, carers and the professionals engaged—teachers, nurses and others—to make sure we get the best possible outcome. That is something I want to see achieved so that children with special needs are able to continue a thriving and full education.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.32): I would like to thank Mr Doszpot for bringing this issue to the Assembly today. I know he is very passionate about it and has taken a long-term interest in it. I appreciate that the developments over the past few weeks have been led by some concerns from parents and the Australian Education Union, the AEU, and that the motion before us is current. But, as Mr Doszpot knows, this issue has a long history. The issue is the level of medical intervention required to support students with a disability to attend school and in particular to attend one of the four special schools in Canberra. As members may know, these schools are Woden, Black Mountain, Malkara and Cranleigh.

It is my understanding that there are currently nurses available to both Malkara and Cranleigh and there are no immediate plans to change this arrangement. I had assumed this was because the level of need at these two schools has been well established and the medical issues of the students are such that the health and education directorates have agreed to a permanent nurse presence. However, as we all read in the Canberra Times recently, the situation is different for the other two schools.

Woden, I am advised, has only had a nurse either placed on site or engaged for regular visits in the past few years for the needs of one specific student, and this was an issue passionately championed by Mr Doszpot. It is also my understanding, although I am happy to be corrected, that under the healthcare access at school program, HAAS, there has not been an identified need to have a nurse offer the same services beyond that student’s unique and individual needs.

The Black Mountain School issue, however, is a little hazier. It appears that the HAAS program has been trialled in schools in the ACT for some time, and there was a communication with parents and teachers about the removal of two nurses or equivalent nursing services. However, concerns appear to have been raised, first privately and then much more publicly, that aroused enough issues that the decision was overturned within two months and the nurse reinstated. And now we are here debating the matters and the HAAS is being reviewed.

I do find all this process a little unsatisfactory. It seems to be a bit of chopping and changing. But I hope that through today’s discussion we can get some clarity on what the situation is.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video