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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (9 March) . . Page.. 884..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

So by doing this we can actually have some more business on the program today and apparently everyone is comfortable with that.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 11.32 am to 2.30 pm.

Visitors

MR SPEAKER: I welcome a group of students from Marist College. Is this the same group that was here before lunch or a different group?

Mr Smyth: It is a different group; it is the other half of year 6.

MR SPEAKER: There must be lots of you out there. I welcome you to the Assembly.

Questions without notice

Oxygen supply subsidy

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. I refer to an ABC Online report from 31 January this year stating that you would assist a Canberra woman who needs to use an oxygen machine for 22 hours of the day at the expense of $900 per month. The report quotes you as saying:

I've asked ACT Health to see whether or not we can get oxygen supplied to this person at a cost of about $250 a month.

The Opposition has received an email from the woman concerned. It reads:

Despite the Minister's public assurances, and ACT Health discussions, nothing has been formally offered. There has been discussion about reducing my bill to $250 per month, but this will be done by me using less oxygen (and therefore staying at home and in bed).

Her email continues:

Now ACT Health tells me that Treasury need to discuss and clarify my income arrangements and I have totally lost my rag with ACT Health and advised them that I'm not playing this game any more. I have no income; I believe if the Secretary of Health is recommending even this trivial amount then it should be accepted; and I'm sicker now than I was four weeks ago-I don't have the breath in me to keep this up which is I assume what they were hoping for.

Minister, why have you not made a formal offer of assistance to the woman concerned, six weeks after you assured the ACT community that you were looking at the issue?

MR CORBELL: Mr Smyth's assertions are simply untrue. I can advise the Assembly that, as of yesterday, the Chief Executive of the Department of Health, Dr Sherbon, advised Ms Cahill Lambert, the individual involved, of the offer of $250 per month by the ACT government and an additional $110 per month from Medibank Private in a deal brokered by the ACT government to assist this person with access to oxygen. That


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