Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999
Parliamentary Record 20
Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 November 1999 title was, at the Alice Springs Hospital. She was the one with whom I had to negotiate to admit patients into hospital and she had the run of the hospital in those evenings when she was on in charge. Vai, or Sister Rice, had worked at the Alice Springs Hospital for some 20 years and during the course of her employment she developed breast cancer. In spite of the disease for which she was treated she continued to work loyally for the Alice Springs Hospital. According to reports I have heard, she never missed a days work in spite of her illness. She loved every facet of being a nurse and was very much a patients person, so much so that she was a very strong patient advocate. Her colleagues all marvelled at her generosity and perseverance at work. She was always there when anybody needed her. She never showed anybody that she was ill - a very private person who kept her illness to herself and her family and to everybody else, she was just a very happy and brave person. When I did the launch of the Northern Territory breast cancer calendar in Alice Springs about a month ago on behalf of the Minister for Health, Family and Children Services, Vai was there and she appeared to me to be in such good health. She was moving around, talking to lots of people and lobbied me about increasing services for breast cancer patients in Alice Springs, in particular services related to lymphodema treatment. Even at that time she appeared very well to me, never giving me an indication that she was unwell. Vai was also a very committed person to Girl Guides and was a Queens Guide herself, the highest honour that any person can achieve as a Girl Guide. When she retired, through her involvement with the Girl Guide movement, she went from being a Brownie leader to a Girl Guide leader, and finally in 1984, became a Commissioner for Girl Guides for Central Australia and while she had retired from that post, she continued to support the Guide movement though the Trefoil Guild. Vai was married to George Rice. George as we all know, is a very active member of the Neighbourhood Watch group in Alice Springs and is one of the area coordinators. He is always ready to represent Alice Springs at the Annual Neighbourhood Watch conferences, usually held in Darwin. Vai and George had 2 children, Vicky who is now 29 and Gavin who is 23. On behalf of members, I would like to convey my condolences to the Rice family, particularly George, whom I know very well, and also to Gavin. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to meet Vicky but I am sure she would appreciate the support that Alice Springs has for the Rice family. The hospital would certainly miss Vai, or Sister Rice, all the services she has provided in the many years she had been there. She will be very, very sadly missed. Mr TOYNE (Stuart): Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like to speak tonight about an outstanding apprenticeship program in Alice Springs, the part-time apprenticeship program for automotive mechanics, which is a joint initiative between the Group Training Northern Territory, Centralian College and a group of Alice Springs businesses. The program is essentially a school-to-work transition program which blends year 11 and Northern Territory Certificate of Education work with the first year of an automotive apprenticeship. That is quite a unique combination of studies and training and it is equally impressive in that it is fully seeded into a group of Alice Springs businesses. So we have here a cooperative arrangement between one of our providers, the Alice Springs business community and the training facilitators in the form of Group Training. It is something that makes absolute sense in terms of not only filling an identified area of skill shortage which is the automotive mechanics in the case of central Australia and probably through the whole of the Territory, but it also is a very good example of the coordination at the community level and what it can produce in the form of a quality education program. Getting the program together was no easy feat. It had to comply with the time constraints that the businesses brought to their interaction with the apprentices. Obviously, the business has to be run and the apprenticeship has to be fitted, in a viable way, with the activities of the business. The NTCE requirements also had to be worked through in that each student had to be counselled, along with the parents, to ensure that the subjects selected were actually most appropriate both to the apprenticeship and to the pattern of NTCE work that was running in Centralian College, and indeed to give an NTCE qualification that had balance and the core subjects in it. The Industrial Award created probably the most difficulty in setting this up, and Group Training NT had to negotiate a separate enterprise bargaining agreement to accommodate part-time apprentices. Now, changing any of the apprenticeship structures is always an extremely difficult problem, and I certainly encountered that a few years ago when I was doing consultancy work on training arrangements in Queensland. It is a very, very difficult, inflexible structure if you are wanting to innovate from it. Perhaps it says 2 things - it says that Group Training NT need to be congratulated for persisting and winning the flexibility that they 4831
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