Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3153..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Mr Stanhope, that is the answer, I think, to your question. You seem to feel that my answer to your first question was inadequate. I took the matter to cabinet, and cabinet agreed that we would be prepared to find these extra funds. It will most likely require an additional appropriation. That was a process we used for the funding for nurses at Calvary, who agreed to the 12 per cent offer.
Maternal and child health nurses-waiting times
MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services. It regards access to maternal and child health nurses. I recently received a letter from a concerned mother who wished to inform me that she had to wait over three weeks to see a child health nurse in the Belconnen facility. My office checked the waiting list for each of the facilities a couple of weeks ago, at which time the Tuggeranong clinic had the shortest waiting period, which was seven or eight days. While there is provision for emergency appointments, most people would agree that even a week-and I am talking from experience here-is unacceptable for a mother and baby with feeding problems that might not be considered an emergency.
Can you confirm what the waiting periods are for these facilities? Can you confirm that all mothers and babies are granted their initial home visit within an appropriate time frame? Is there a time frame set by the department? Are the clinics adequately staffed to meet this demand?
MR MOORE: Current waiting times for clinic appointments are unacceptable. Waiting times for generic appointments range from 10 to 29 days. The contract stipulates that they ought to be done in 10 days. Waiting times for priority appointments vary from five to eight days. It is expected that a family is able to access services within five days. That waiting time would fulfil the requirements for timely immunisation, timely child health checks and monitoring and an effective response to a variety of maternal and child health issues-for example, post-natal depression. It is also worth remembering that there are a series of other resources that women can go to for assistance. Of course, their GP is, and should be, their first point of call if there is a particular issue.
When we are talking about immunisation, we want to encourage people. The spot van is advertised and circulates. There is no booking for the spot van; people can go directly into it. I would recommend to members, if they see the spot van parked anywhere, to pop in and say hello to the nurses who do the immunisation service and see what they are doing. I have done that a number of times, and I have always found them very friendly.
I have said that the service is inadequate in its timing, and we are now taking measures to improve that. I think I have explained those measures to you, Mr Osborne.
MR BERRY: My question is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as minister for sport in the ACT. I refer the minister to the heading "Perth says V8 Supercars cost too much" at the bottom of page 1 of this morning's Canberra Times. The government will spend $23 million over five years on the V8 car race, and the government claims a benefit of $11 million to $12 million per year, which, according to all these figures, gives us a return of $55 million to $60 million, or $2 to $3 for each dollar spent. The Western