Page 1425 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Minister Corbell’s creation of further confusion does not help the situation at all. Judging by the questions in question time on education policies and health issues, I do not think the ministers themselves know.
Going to the amendment that Minister Corbell brought before us, it is a whitewash. It talks about how good the HAAS is. There is no argument about the HAAS. We support the HAAS pilot. The second last point in Minister Corbell’s amendment states that ACT Health is reviewing the needs of children in special schools, in consultation with parents, teachers and health professionals. You would think that this would have been the very first step to be taken, eight or nine months ago, before a HAAS pilot was even considered. You would think that they would have consulted. But, no; they started the project and then, when nurses went public very strongly—because obviously the ministers were not listening to them—all of a sudden they realised, “We didn’t think of this. We didn’t think of that.” All of a sudden there was a backflip, the nurses were put back into special schools and now the minister is saying, “We will conduct a review and have consultation with parents, teachers and health professionals.”
In the last point in the amendment he says that “the review will consult with the Education and Training Directorate”—hooray!—“parents, teachers, nurses and their respective unions to establish the level of need for medical supervision of children in Woden and Black Mountain specialist schools, and the level and make-up of teaching and nursing staff required to support students in classroom settings”. That amendment could have provided a great set of criteria for looking at putting HAAS in to the schools—before you put something in, not finding out six months later whether that is what you should have done.
We have a clear motion before the Assembly. I believe the motion has the support of the majority, if not all, of the community in the special needs area. We are asking this government to guarantee that all special schools will be quarantined from the healthcare access at school program. We are hearing that loud and clear. We are also asking on behalf of the community for the reinstatement of permanent nurses to all ACT special schools, with at least two nurses at Black Mountain School and one nurse at Woden, so that students with complex medical needs are not put at risk.
We are not asking for this as a brand-new thought bubble that we have come up with. This is something that actually existed before the government took it away. I am gobsmacked that this is not getting through to the ministers. A mistake has been made. Everyone can make a mistake; they can recover from it. But, no; Mr Corbell has compounded it. He has now come up with this amendment that has umpteen “notes” and which is all window dressing and a whitewash of what they have done. He wants me to change my motion so that it reads, “The Minister for Health to report back to the Assembly on the consultation by the last sitting day in August 2015.” Shame on you, Mr Corbell. This is ridiculous. You are talking about making parents deal with a whole range of issues that they currently find very hard to contend with. You now want us to agree with you, to compliment you on your amendment, to delay the process and to keep this uncertainty in the community growing, instead of addressing issues that are easily addressed.