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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 8 Hansard (28 June) . . Page.. 2344..


MR SESELJA (continuing):

treated with contempt by the Chief Minister in seeking to slander his good name. At the same time the Chief Minister was displaying his contempt for the chair, who continually tried to call him to order, and Mr Stanhope ignored those calls.

There were a number of occasions where not just Mr Stanhope but also Mr Hargreaves performed in this way during the estimates process. This shows a disdain for the processes of the Assembly; it shows a disdain for the ACT community; and it shows that this government, despite its rhetoric, does not care about accountability or openness. That was shown in the way they constructed the estimates process, and in the disdain ministers such as the Chief Minister showed not only for members of their own government but also for the people of Canberra.

MR SPEAKER: I understand it is the wish of the Assembly to break for lunch at this point. That being the case, the chair will resume at 2:30 pm.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Pharmacies

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. The budget contains funding of $100,000 for a consultancy into community pharmacies to be undertaken by Allens Consulting Group. I understand that Allens Consulting has done a similar study on behalf of Woolworths to try to justify a case for Woolworths to operate pharmacies. Why did you hire Allens Consulting Group to undertake the study into community pharmacies, given the obvious conflict of interest from the study for Woolworths?

MR CORBELL: For the same reason that the federal government has used Allens Consulting on a number of occasions for it own work into pharmacy areas.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Why is the government undertaking this study, given the strong level of public support for community pharmacies as shown by the 45,000-signature petition tabled in the Assembly in 2004?

MR CORBELL: The only people who are pre-judging the outcome of this study are the Liberal Party and perhaps others who support them. The government has commissioned this examination into community pharmacy because we remain concerned at Canberrans' access to community pharmacies, and indeed to pharmacy services generally, especially after hours. I do not know whether members opposite have had the experience, but it can be extremely difficult, for example, to find a pharmacy open late at night to get the services that you need, especially if your child or someone else has an urgent but unexpected need for certain types of pharmaceuticals.

It is entirely appropriate that the government look into these issues of access and availability of pharmacy services. The government has no pre-judged agenda in this. I find it disappointing in the extreme that the Liberal Party and-I say with much regret-the Pharmacy Guild of Australia are choosing to shoot the messenger and are pre-judging


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