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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 738..


Suspension of standing orders

Motion (by Mr Wood ) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent a motion being moved to (a) rescind the resolution of the Assembly earlier this day fixing a future day for the resumption of debate on the Pharmacy Amendment Bill 2002 and (b) the Bill being called on forthwith.

Pharmacy Amendment Bill 2002

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (5.12): I move:

That the resolution of the Assembly earlier this day fixing a future day for the resumption of debate on the Pharmacy Amendment Bill 2002 be rescinded and that the Bill be called on forthwith.

MR SPEAKER: Do you wish to speak to that motion, Mr Wood?

MR WOOD: No. I think it has been discussed around the chamber.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Debate resumed.

MS TUCKER (5.13): I would like to explain, just for the benefit of new MLAs and for the record, what has actually happened here. For many years in Australia, there has been a general presumption that the pharmacies that we see in our shopping centres are owned by the registered pharmacists who work in them. In fact, all state pharmacy legislation limits the ownership of pharmacies to pharmacists.

However, in recent years concern has arisen within the pharmacy profession about the potential for corporations with no particular pharmacy connections to take over the operation of pharmacies, and run them as retail businesses. For example, a supermarket could operate a pharmacy section within its premises, in the same way that it might have a bakery or a delicatessen, or a company may want to set up its own chain of pharmacies.

These concerns came to a head when the state and Commonwealth governments agreed, through COAG, to undertake a national competition policy review of national pharmacy legislation. This review was completed in early 2000, and came to be known as the Wilkinson review. It concluded that there is a net public benefit in the existing system of pharmacy ownership, even though this could be considered as a restriction on competition. The review concluded that the ownership of pharmacies by pharmacists ensured the highest standard of provision of this important health care service, and a high level of accountability by pharmacists.


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