Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3211..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
They have also announced that they will be spending $5.9 million on capital funding to establish these three clinics. The Gungahlin clinic alone will cost $18 million.
Mr Seselja: It's a fit-out. You're wrong again. Wrong again.
MS GALLAGHER: There will be three clinics—capital cost, into private business—again the detail of the policy is being thought out as they respond to my comments here. If they are fitting out private businesses, then there are rules around procurement Mr Seselja. You have to operate on a level playing field. You cannot go and pick a GP surgery in south Tuggeranong and say, "Oh well, the government will give you some extra money"but not allow a proper, open tender process, which cannot be prescriptive around location.
This is an amazing policy from the Liberals, in the sense that it is unachievable. It cannot be delivered upon and it really misleads the ACT community. It treats GPs unfairly. It sets them up against each other. GPs that have been working hard and delivering to the ACT community are not eligible for the incentive programs that Mr Seselja will offer to those who come from outside.
Where will these 60 GPs come from? It is not an issue if they cannot afford to operate in the ACT; the issue is that there are not enough GPs across the whole of Australia. The private market at the moment is offering GPs $500,000 to relocate business. I repeat: $500,000. But GPs are not motivated by money. The GPs that work tirelessly for this community will be put in direct competition to the scheme that Mr Seselja wants to set up.
Not only can you not offer ACT government-funded bulkbilling services—you could not do it unless you had the agreement of the commonwealth, and I would be very surprised if you did—but also you will offer incentives that work against those GPs currently in our community working hard that will not be eligible for them. There is a whole range of competition issues and there is a whole range of procurement issues that you, if you ever get in government, will need to abide by.
This is the policy of failure. It is a policy that cannot be delivered upon. It is a promise that you cannot keep. You need to come and front up to the community and let them know that. You cannot deliver this, not in any measure. Not at any level can this policy be delivered upon. One day when you are in government—if you ever are—you will need to understand that you cannot respond with kneejerk, populist reactions to issues that are complex and deserve the full attention of government and working with the stakeholders. As the Division of General Practice said to you today, "Talk with the stakeholders. Talk with the general practitioners."One GP asked me today whether they would offer her $75,000 to stay here and work.
Mr Pratt: Excuse after excuse.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt! Members of the opposition should cease interjecting, please.