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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 4 Hansard (17 March) . . Page.. 1164..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

introducing a new planning system, when in reality it has been gathering dust for at least the last three years?

MR CORBELL: As I have indicated to Mr Smyth, I am happy to answer the details of his original substantive question once I receive further advice from the department. The comments I made earlier this sitting week were based on advice I received from the department this week. Whether they refer to the same piece of equipment that Mr Smyth is referring to I will take on notice and provide further advice to Mr Smyth.

Health-maternity services

MRS BURKE: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell, which I hope he will not take on notice. Minister, last May the Assembly health committee tabled the report A pregnant pause, on maternity services. The government has so far failed to reply to this report. In the City Chronicle of 15 March 2005, you advised that there was no time frame for the response. In fact, the incoming government brief prepared by the relevant public servants states that the government response was, in fact, due in August last year.

Minister, why has the government failed to respond in a timely manner to this important Assembly report delivered in May last year? Why did you advise the City Chronicle that there was no time frame for a response when documents prepared by your department show, indeed, that a response was due last August?

MR CORBELL: Those documents were prepared for you, not for me-I have not seen them-in the unlikely event that, as the Chief Minister indicated yesterday, you are actually ever elected to government. As Mr Stanhope indicated yesterday, incoming government briefs for the opposition are not something that I am made privy to. I am not made privy to them.

Mr Speaker, it is the convention that governments normally respond within three months of a report being handed down. I am sure I could point out a few examples of the former Liberal government not responding within that time frame.

Opposition members interjecting-

MR SPEAKER: Members of the opposition, I would like you all to take a look at standing order 39.

MR CORBELL: The simple fact is that the government is considering its response. In particular, I am considering what I recommend to government as to what should be the response to that report. A range of issues within that report suggests fairly fundamental change to the way in which family services are delivered in the ACT. These are matters that I want to fully consider.

I treat the report seriously. I have met with the Maternity Coalition and the Australian College of Midwives to discuss this matter. I have indicated to them that it is a matter that I take seriously and that I will be considering it fully in developing a formal response that I will then put to my colleagues in cabinet before then, hopefully, being in a position to provide the response to the Assembly.


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