Page 2236 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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Madam Speaker, all of these initiatives will deliver more services with a growing workforce supported to thrive and innovate, reducing pressure and increasing access to care closer to home. Many of the actions in this plan will bring about fundamental and foundational changes to our public maternity system. These actions will be built on, to ensure our services are accessible, accountable and sustainable into the future.

I am proud to share this important work which has been contributed to by so many, including the former members who undertook the inquiry into maternity services. This work will strengthen our public maternity system and its capacity to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (10.59): I was really, really pleased to see the health minister’s Maternity in Focus package come out. The Greens put several maternity commitments into our parliamentary and governing agreement with Labor, and it is great to see some of these progress. We took a lot to the election, and I think there is a real need in Canberra to make sure that we are doing this better.

That Maternity in Focus plan is really, really strong on respectful maternity care. It recognises the benefits of a positive birth experience and the importance of healthcare human rights. Respectful maternity care focuses on the factors that support human health and wellbeing—that is, care that does no harm and is culturally sensitive, unbiased and valued by the woman and her community, as explained by our health minister. Respecting women’s and pregnant people’s choice is central to maternity care, and that is what makes that care culturally safe and appropriate. We can respect women and pregnant people through the use of appropriate language, in manner and in taking the time to engage with them and provide information.

The issue of consent is really important here. What a woman or a pregnant person does with her body is really important. I think in the context of Roe v Wade there are a lot of people getting very, very nervous about this notion of bodily autonomy and consent, so it is really, really good that we make it very clear who is in charge of this. Pregnant and labouring people are still people and still have the right to bodily autonomy.

We are really, really pleased about the goal of 50 per cent of continuity of care by 2028. That is a great target. I received this type of care when I had my baby, and it was fantastic to see the midwife each time I pedalled over to the hospital. We made a real connection and it provided such good care. I would love to see a pathway for that kind of care to be expanded to 100 per cent so that everybody who wants it will be able to have it, and to see a date set on that at some stage.

Our research shows that, overwhelmingly, women and pregnant people want to give birth in this model of care and the midwives want to deliver this model of care. It is a win-win. It will make their workplaces better and it will make our outcomes better. It is also effective and cost-effective. It is appropriate for all pregnancy risk levels and it is demonstrated to improve the outcomes for low-risk and high-risk pregnancies.

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