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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 10 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 3129..


MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, in regard to the findings of the scoping study, what initiatives has the ACT government put in place over recent years that have contributed to the increase in GPs in the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. We did commit $12 million over four years to support GPs, to entice new GPs to work in the ACT, to support medical students to consider a career in general practice and to help existing GPs meet the needs of their patients, in particular patients in residential aged care facilities.

We have had a number of programs, including the GP development fund, the GP scholarships, including the Peter Sharp scholarship, the education infrastructure support grant payments which are payments to assist GPs who take on the training responsibility of medical students, the GP aged day care service which, again, was targeted to meet and was focused on trying to reduce some of those presentations by elderly people to the emergency department by ensuring that they had access to GPs in their residential aged care facility before their health declined, and the PGPPP which is encouraging general practice to take on junior doctors. All of these programs have helped, and I would like to thank the Medicare Local and the GP workforce working group for the work they have done in assisting us to meet the needs of the primary healthcare sector.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, did the study conduct any analysis of bulk-billing rates in the ACT and the cost of visiting GPs in the ACT?

MS GALLAGHER: No. The work that was done was commissioned around workforce. It was focused primarily on understanding the exact snapshot now and looking forward about what needs to happen. As I have said in this place a number of times, the GP bulk-billing rates, which are recorded separately through the Department of Health and Ageing, are a matter for individual GPs, as are their billing requirements.

Housing—affordability

MS BERRY: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. What measures is the government taking to boost housing affordability in the ACT?

Mr Coe: Lease variation charge?

MR BARR: Amongst others, Madam Speaker. Yes, the government is reforming the territory's taxation system. We are abolishing conveyance duty over time. Stamp duty is an unfair and inefficient tax. It makes buying a home less affordable. There would appear not to be universal agreement that stamp duty is an unfair tax, which is disappointing. But the government's tax reforms mean that someone buying a home


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