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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (31 May) . . Page.. 1298..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

government's maternity services in one way or another, it is desirable that the birth occurs either at the birth centre or at the maternity ward of the hospital. We encourage expectant mothers to take appropriate steps to make sure that they are able to attend the hospital when they know that they are coming near to term.

The attendance of ambulances at homes is an exceptional circumstance. Clearly, there are circumstances where women proceed to labour in their own home and are unable to attend the hospital. In those circumstances, it is appropriate that the ambulance attend.

Most births are able to proceed in a very straightforward way. I am sure we would all agree that the minimal amount of medical intervention should be provided in relation to a birth and that you should not go to every birth in the expectation that you need to undertake some form of medical intervention. Clearly, ambulances provide only a certain amount of support. Beyond that, you need to be in a healthcare setting in the hospital or elsewhere.

I am happy to get information on the equipment that ambulances have. I hope I have been able to explain to Dr Foskey the parameters of this policy.

DR FOSKEY: I thank the minister for agreeing to seek that information, depending on what that is. Will the minister work with emergency services and the community midwifery program to ensure that midwives and ambulance officers are better equipped to attend emergency home births?

MR CORBELL: If there are issues being raised at the clinical level about the adequacy of equipment or services, I will treat the matter seriously and look at the issue. It has not been raised with me as a matter to date, either by the ambulance service or the health department. If it was or if it is an issue, I would look at that carefully. To date, it is not an issue that has been raised with me in any way.

Estimates 2007-2008—Select Committee

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. In February of this year your office, on your behalf, advised the Assembly committee secretariat that you would not be available for the first week of estimates hearings due to an overseas trip that had been planned for some time. On ABC radio on 24 May of this year, however, you said that you would not be going on an overseas trip. Then, in answer to a question on Tuesday, you said, "I did not say that I would not be in Canberra that week."Now, in today's Canberra Times, all these contrary statements are blamed on a diary mix-up. Chief Minister, as ACT Treasurer, where will you be from Monday, 18 June 2007 to 22 June 2007 during the first week of hearings of the estimates committee?

MR STANHOPE: I expect to be in Canberra.

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, why do you find it so difficult to tell the people of the ACT where you will be as you are exercising your responsibilities as Chief Minister of the ACT?

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