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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 2 Hansard (23 February) . . Page.. 486..


MS GALLAGHER: The government's position—and indeed the Assembly is very aware of the measures that we have taken over a number of years to support our primary healthcare service system. It is not just GPs. We have very good community health care in the ACT—one that rivals, I think, almost every other jurisdiction in terms of access to community health care. The government has prioritised a number of commitments to support primary health care in the territory. We have been extremely active in this area. It is in our interests for the acute system to be supported by a really well-functioning primary healthcare system. That is the government's priority. That is what we are working on and that is what we will continue to do—and that is the end of the answer.

Mr Hanson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the question went specifically to bulk-billing, Minister.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hanson?

MR HANSON: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, when you previously stated with regard to GPs that there was nothing that you could do to address the declining numbers, were you wrong when you said that?

MS GALLAGHER: No, I was not wrong, because the government do not control the number of training places. We do not control the number of medical students going into the training program. We do not control the Medicare provider number. They are the things that control GPs and numbers of GPs. I stand by our comments. Anyone who understood the divide between commonwealth-territory relations would understand that. The commonwealth has jurisdiction in this area. The task force has identified—and the government has accepted a number of the recommendations—issues to support the existing general practice and, hopefully, entice people into GP training.

Mr Hanson: Yes, so increase the number of GPs.

MS GALLAGHER: All of that work has been underway for a number of years, Mr Hanson. As to whether I can solve the GP shortage and whether I can increase bulk-billing rates, the answer is no. Mr Hanson, if you were the health minister, you would have to stand up here in this place and tell the truth as well.

ACTION bus service—Nightrider service

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Transport and concerns the ACTION Nightrider service. In promotional material for Nightrider and new year's eve in the city, the government encouraged people to take the Nightrider bus home as a means to lower drink driving rates. The AFP has also stated that "good public transport services also help us reduce antisocial behaviour in Civic". Minister, what consideration has the government given to expanding the Nightrider service so that it is all year round?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. Ms Bresnan, in relation to Nightrider I can just give at this stage a quick summary of what was provided in this


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