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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (23 June) . . Page.. 2518..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

have professional accountability. Under the system being proposed there would be no responsibility to the entity or accountability to the entity. An employee dispensing the wrong medication can be pursued but the entity is exempt. I see that there are lots of loopholes. I think another path that we are being taken down that has not been thought through that Mr Corbell and/or the Chief Minister want to be first at something else. So we are all going to pay for it.

We are talking about 800-plus employees in the ACT. Have we thought about the fiscal impact of this-payroll; impact on the ACT community; $260,000 a year by three pharmacies alone; $3.9 million spent locally in 12 months on related services such as ActewAGL, IT, courier services, et cetera?

Chemists will not earn anywhere near the salary paid to the managers within supermarkets. The ACT economy will suffer. The money will move outside the ACT. It will not benefit the people in the community here. I am hoping, if I am wrong, Mr Corbell can tell me I am. That will be good. He can put my mind at rest.

There is lots that I could go on and talk about. Another matter is the ownership and succession programs for chemists. Has the health minister talked to these people on a business footing to understand really what it is like to own a business? We have had this debate in this place today. They have no idea, none. Furthermore, they do not care. They do not care as long as they get their agenda, what they want to do. To hell with the rest of you-it does not matter.

As I said, I am extremely disappointed that the government has done a backflip and reneged; their word is worthless; their arrogant behaviour and arrogant approach to this just beggar belief. But I wait to hear the minister's response, if he is to speak again, and I hope that he can put my mind at rest that we are not going to lose one of the most valuable and critical services to community care in this city.

MR STEFANIAK (4.10): Mr Speaker, earlier Mr Smyth mentioned the importance of the Rivett pharmacy. I am well aware of that as I was living in that suburb when the pharmacy left and I saw the effect of that; it went down to two shops.

As someone who regularly visits the Charnwood pharmacy and as someone who has a family member who is very much dependent on regular prescriptions being attended to there, I have become very well aware of exactly how important suburban pharmacies are in the structure of Canberra. The pharmacists there know the customers; they get personalised service. I think a local pharmacy is even more important now, when we do not have quite so many doctors in the suburbs. I know that the Charnwood pharmacy gives a lot of assistance to people who normally would go to the doctor. Indeed, I am advised they send about 20 to 30 people a weekend to Calvary because they need additional treatment.

You are just not going to get that sort of service in a supermarket; you are not going to get that sort of service with a conveyer belt-type of arrangement where you effectively get rid of these crucially important aspects of our local suburban society, the pharmacy. There are a lot of people in our community who simply are not mobile, who cannot get around, who cannot perhaps go off to some central pharmacy or whatever, and who depend utterly on their local pharmacy and on pharmacists who actually know exactly,

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