Page 2920 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 October 2022
carers on co-designing this with the government, to set the ACT public health system up as an exemplar for other services to follow. I know that we have work to do in that space.
The government is also continuing to support better care in the community through targeted investments with our community partners. This budget delivers ongoing support for Palliative Care ACT’s Leo’s Place, following the successful piloting of this program through the 2020-21 budget and delivering on an election commitment.
We are also building a new public hydrotherapy pool at the Tuggeranong Lakeside Leisure Centre, to be open by mid-2024, with an $8.5 million allocation to deliver this project and provide more options for our community partners, including Arthritis ACT. We promised we would build it and we are delivering on that promise.
The Barr government also promised to significantly reduce the cost of medical and surgical abortions in the lead-up to the 2020 election. I was proud to stand with the Deputy Chief Minister and announce that the government was doing that and again leading the nation with a $4.6 million investment. Abortions are health care. We know this and, under a Barr government, we will continue to lead the way in ensuring that women’s rights are protected and expanded upon.
As members know, primary care is principally a commonwealth government responsibility. However, we all know that over the past decade it has been gutted by the federal Liberal government, and primary care is now in crisis. I do not use that word lightly. This is not new, and it is not a surprise to Canberrans, who know you cannot trust the Liberal Party with public health care. While it is a welcome change to have an Albanese Labor government, which has committed to investing to fix the mess left by the former Liberal government, the ACT government has also continued our investment to provide care in the community.
To support better care, we are delivering on our election commitment to employ an addition five nurse practitioners for our walk-in centres, meaning that by 2024 a nurse practitioner will be on every shift at every walk-in centre, delivering more care closer to home when Canberrans need it.
In addition to the nurse practitioners in our walk-in centres, the government is also investing to protect and support the most vulnerable in our community, with just over $3.4 million committed to supporting Directions Health, Junction Youth Health Service and Companion House to continue delivering their successful primary care programs. These programs represent a key aim of this government—ensuring that everyone is able to access the care and services they need by delivering innovative and targeted services to some of the most vulnerable community members, including refugees and asylum seekers, young people who are at risk, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and people with alcohol and other drug dependency issues.
Finally, the government has continued to build on our nation-leading alcohol and drug sector, with investments to boost services now and for the future. We make these investments because we know that addiction is a health issue. We also know that, in partnership with our excellent community sector, we can change the opportunities for