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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2978


Senator RYAN (Minister for Education and Youth Affairs)(10.41) —I am very sympathetic to the issue which Senator Reid has raised on the adjournment tonight. I certainly do not need any persuading of the merits of water therapy for a whole range of learning difficulties, and certainly not for the range of learning difficulties experienced by children in the Malkara Special School. As Senator Reid has pointed out, the Australian Capital Territory Schools Authority has acknowledged the importance of water therapy for children in special schools by its decision to provide pools in some of the special schools in the Australian Capital Territory. I do not know what priority the Schools Authority is according to the Malkara swimming pool project at this stage. I hope it is a high priority. I presume that the only problem is a budgetary one, which of course is something that the Government is attending to at this stage. As I have said, I need no persuading of the virtues of a swimming pool for the Malkara Special School.

Although I am a person who regularly advocates community facilities for community use, and the integration of members of the community into community provided facilities, I can see that in the case of the Malkara Special School the difficulties involved in using community facilities would be very great and would detract to a large extent from the benefits that the children would get. I take up in a very positive spirit the remarks made by Senator Reid tonight and I will certainly convey her views, and support them with mine, to the Schools Authority shortly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 10.43 p.m.