Page 4653 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 November 2018

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This is an amazing outcome for the local medical and health research sector, our clinicians in ACT Health and academic partners here in the ACT and in Victoria. The focus on genomics research in the treatment of patients will significantly strengthen the ACT’s position amongst other jurisdictions, especially as this type of precision medicine research becomes more mainstream in treating illness, including cancer.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what are the government’s priorities for the Medical and Health Research portfolio?

MS FITZHARRIS: I was very pleased to add this portfolio to my responsibilities earlier this year. The government next month is convening the ACT Health summit on research teaching and training to determine the vision for the future of medical and health research in the ACT. It is anticipated that initiatives involving the ACT’s proximity to New South Wales will play a role in defining the scope of some of the research priorities and partnerships.

The ANU and the University of Canberra will be the top priorities in terms of academic partners in the medical and health research space for the ACT. Primary healthcare partners, other tertiary institutions, consumer groups and other care providers will also be important partners. Research quality and capacity is a key focus. Initiatives in this area will take shape over the next few months that will significantly enhance the research methods and data analytic capabilities associated with our research discovery and translation endeavours. The ANU and the University of Canberra are involved with the office of research and ACT Health to make data science a centrepiece of health and medical research in the future.

The government is getting on with the job of providing safe, timely and sustainable health care when and where Canberrans need it. We are complementing this in the ACT’s health system by taking steps to make the ACT a national and world leader in medical and health research. I look forward to updating the Assembly on the outcomes of the summit as soon as possible.

Light rail—drivers

MISS C BURCH: My question is to the Minister for Transport. Minister, what is the total number of light rail drivers that will be employed by Canberra Metro and how many have already commenced employment?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Miss Burch for the question. I understand it is in the 30s and I understand that they have all been employed. Of course Canberra Metro will continue to seek light rail drivers over the course of the project but I will check the numbers and take that question on notice.

MISS C BURCH: Minister, on what date did wages and salary payments to those light rail drivers commence?

MS FITZHARRIS: I presume when they were employed, but I will take that question on notice.

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