Page 1421 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 May 2015

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Mr Doszpot has done the work. He has been active, speaking regularly to the people on the front line to find out what they want, what they need to provide for children in special schools.

This is not an area for cost cutting. In the Liberal Party, we want to make sure that we are providing for all the most vulnerable in our community—the children at these schools; this is who we are talking about; we want to make sure that the front-line staff are supported as well—and that the teaching staff in these environments, particularly, are not being called on to do something that is beyond their abilities.

If there is a concern from the government that we are being overly generous in some manner or we are providing support that may not always be needed, so be it. We think that this is a priority. We are committed to making sure that support is given to those who are vulnerable in our community and also to making sure that staff are supported. You will see more of this from the Canberra Liberals—listening to experts and making sure that we are putting resources where they are needed.

I will not belabour the point. I think the government’s amendment is an improvement on where we are at today. It does not go as far as Mr Doszpot is calling for, so we will not be supporting the amendment, but I am glad—regardless, it would seem that the amendment has the support of Mr Rattenbury—that this issue is firmly and squarely on the agenda and that we will get an improvement in what is provided at these special schools. Importantly, it will provide clarity and support to those most in need. I again commend Mr Doszpot for his motion.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (4.01): I share with the Minister for Health and most in this room a keen interest in supporting the needs of students attending school. I share Minister Corbell’s view that the healthcare access at school pilot, led by nurses and supported through doctors from ACT Health, with involvement from parents and families, offers a quality evidence-based way to meet the needs of a number of students in our public schools.

Dedicated teachers, school leaders and learning support assistants work together with parents and families to make our schools the best they can be for our students.

I recognise the work that ACT Health has put in to make the HAAS pilot available in a number of public schools. It is through the ACT Health pilot that we can support more students to attend school more often.

The pilot is designed to support students with additional healthcare needs to attend school. It targets the individual student’s needs and provides an individual response to those needs. Members of the Assembly and the wider community know my background and that of Ms Porter, who is not with us today; we are both registered nurses and have worked as nurses for many years. I acknowledge the impact of nurses; the great work that they do cannot be overestimated.

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