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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3215..


Mr Pratt: I didn't hear that, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Just to clarify.

Mr Pratt: Thank you for the clarification, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?

MRS BURKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, do you stand by your statement regarding GP clinic services in the suburbs that there is "nothing you can do"?

MS GALLAGHER: I think I have answered that, in the sense that the ACT government does not have a role to play in where general practice sets up and how it operates. It is a private business running a service to the community. The ACT government does not have a role—and it has not had one in the past—in regulating that. I understand, in relation to issues around Wanniassa and the loss of that local medical service, that is a loss to that community and we would like to see it open. I have been working to try and do that. I do not think we are going to be successful in that location, but we will look at making some land available quite close to that medical centre to make sure that for those GPs who are interested, if they do want to establish a practice there, there is land available in order for them to set up that business.

That is the ACT government's role. That is a realistic response to the current problem. It is not a knee-jerk reaction like the one we have seen today from the Liberals when they announced a policy that they cannot deliver on, a promise to the community that they cannot meet, for a whole range of reasons: one, the law; two, things like procurement processes; three, issues such as competition and having preferential treatment for one group in an industry over another. As we get the detail—and we have not got the detail, of course; even though they have said how open and transparent it is and everything will be on the website fully costed, fully funded, whatever, it is not there—

Mr Seselja: Where are your costs?

MS GALLAGHER: I am talking about you, Mr Seselja. You were on the radio today—"It's on the website, it's all there, it's all fully funded."It is not on the website. It might be quickly being posted now, dare I say, if someone is listening, but there is no detail. There is no detail about this and so what we are going on largely are the details that the Canberra Times had and some of what Mr Seselja has announced today on the radio. From that there is already a crack at every stage. There is a crack on the bulk-billing clinics, there are cracks emerging on the incentives, there are cracks in the capital component. It is embarrassing for them, but it is true. I imagine that is why the detail is not going up, while they quickly work out how to fix these little cracks and make sure they make the policy as palatable as it can be in light of the fact that they know they cannot deliver. It is a desperate policy from an opposition that have been fighting each other four years. Finally it has dawned on them: "There's an election coming; we'd better come up with something."Yes, the issue of GPs is


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