Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 2-02-16 Contents Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 12
Wombat venture proves a winner
Right, ACT Parks and Conservation senior ranger Colin Schofield on the
walk with, from left, Jane Shepherd of Crace, Jesse Forndtham, 7, and
Cory Forndtham, 9, of Conder; Michael Robens of Isaacs, Kate Forndtham
of Conder, Leo Robens, 11, Xavier Robens, 9, Liz Davin and Melanie
Robens, 13, of Isaacs, and Barry Baine of Crace. Photo: Melissa Adams
Only one in five members of the
Australian public ever see a wombat in
the wild. And by venturing just 25
minutes from the city centre,
Canberrans have the opportunity to be
in that 20 per cent.
Ranger Colin Schofield took 12
people on a nighttime wombat walk
along the Googong Foreshores south
of Queanbeyan during the school
holidays, as part of the ACT Territory
and Municipal Services new holiday
After half an hour, the group was
within touching distance of a wombat,
which was surprisingly unfazed by
Mr Schofield said there was a
thriving wombat population along the
Burrow Creek, as the water and
luscious grassland make for an ideal
It s like a resort for them inside the
reserve , except for disease, drought,
and natural predators like eagles and
But it s a different story closer to
Queanbeyan, where the new Googong
township hugely affects wombat
We see regularly wombats hit by
cars all the time from the traffic that
has increased, Mr Schofield said.
The threat is machinery, really, and
the dogs that come along and move
into the urban areas, and the wombats
move out from their natural places of
habitat and into urban infill. There is
also the issue of illegal hunting outside
the park . . . wombats aren t farmers
He said they rate higher than
kangaroos and most other native
wildlife as a drawcard as they are less
commonly seen. Jane Sheperd and
Barry Bain from Crace said they were
surprised to learn the nocturnal
creatures unintentionally save other
animals from bushfires. Because each
wombat builds multiple borrows up to
30 metres deep, animals such as
wallabies and lizards hide down the
empty ones until danger passes.
For future wombat walk dates and
other activities, visit tams.act.gov.au
HOSPITAL WAITING TIMES
Katie Burgess and Tom McIlroy
The ACT s peak medical group has warned
falling federal funding for the territory s
struggling public hospitals could exacerbate
already growing waiting times.
The Australian Medical Association s
public hospital report card revealed while 68
per cent of emergency department patients
were seen within 30 minutes nationally, only
48 per cent of patients attending emergency in
the ACT were seen within the recommended
Association ACT president Liz Gallagher
said emergency department waiting times were
not the only area in which the territory s health
system was lagging.
The median waiting time for elective surgery
in the ACT, while improved, still trailed the
national median by 10 days, at 45 days
compared with 35 days.
Currently, 69 per cent of category two
elective surgery patients were admitted within
the recommended time, compared with 73 per
Dr Gallagher said the ACT s performance in
elective surgery admissions had gone
backwards in the latest figures.
Last year, the ACT admitted 74 per cent of
elective surgery patients within the
recommended 90 days.
Dr Gallagher said there had been a similar
slide with emergency department admissions,
with 50 per cent of people receiving treatment
on time last year.
Across most of Australia, emergency
department waiting times and elective surgery
waits have lengthened and improvement targets
have not been met, she said.
While the improvements in elective surgery
are welcome, along with the recently
announced new beds in the emergency
department at Canberra Hospital, the fact is that
ACT public hospitals continue to struggle to
The federal government is now under
pressure to overhaul the health funding system
and to provide $57 billion shortfall over 10
Dr Gallagher said federal funding to the ACT
was projected to fall from $316 million in the
2015-16 financial year to $308 million in
Although the overall [ACT] results are
disappointing, it needs to be borne in mind that
the Australian government must play its part in
fixing the problem, she said.
GOOD BEHAVIOUR PRAISED
Police say Canberra s courteous crowds
gave them another reason to celebrate on
No charges were laid and no major incidents
were reported as thousands of people took part
in festivities across the city last Tuesday.
ACT Policing said one man was caught with
cannabis and another man was arrested for
breaching the peace during the major
celebrations the night before the national day.
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