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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1903..


MR CORBELL

(continuing):

The view PALM has taken to date is that, in relation to supported housing-that is housing which has special features to permit those who have greater difficulty with mobility, and access in particular-it should kick in at 60 years of age. It is from that point forward that we see the more intense needs starting to develop, although I am not trying to stereotype people, whereas 55 is essentially still retirement age, when people tend to be much more mobile than they are at the ages of 60 or 65.

That is the general reasoning, but there is no hard and fast legal definition of "older person". Even amongst existing aged care facilities in Canberra, there is a mixture of approaches. Some take residents at the age of 55 and some permit people to buy in only at the age of 60.

MRS CROSS

: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question, through you. Is PALM able to give some certainty to developers of older persons units, as to their position on the lower limit for older persons, so that older members of the community-those who are over 55, those wanting to retire or perhaps move into more appropriate dwellings-and associated organisations such as COTA can plan for the next financial year?

MR CORBELL

: I think PALM has done that at this stage, by indicating that its policy approach is 60.

Medical indemnity

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Chief Minister and Attorney-General. The Chief Minister will no doubt be aware of the lead article in this morning's Canberra Times headed "Threat to birth services"and of what appears to be an orchestrated lobbying campaign on behalf of specialist doctors concerned at what has been claimed to be a lack of action by the ACT government on the reform of laws associated with medical indemnity. Can he tell the Assembly what action the government has taken to address the concerns of the medical profession?

MR STANHOPE

: That is an important question and I am concerned, certainly through calls to my office, at the level of concern and distress that has been caused to a number of women and their partners, in circumstances where they are awaiting the birth of a child, as a result of suggestions by particularly obstetricians and anaesthetists operating essentially at John James that they propose to withdraw their services to their patients as of 1 July. I have to say that that is a very distressing circumstance for those patients who had put their faith in those doctors. I certainly feel for those women who have been put in this circumstance by their doctors as they await the birth of a child. We would all acknowledge that this is, essentially, an industrial campaign by these doctors.

Mr Smyth

: An industrial campaign! You have done nothing.

MR STANHOPE

: It is essentially, I said. It is an industrial issue. The aim of the game, of course, is to ensure that these very privileged members of this very privileged profession, at the end of the day, do not see any reduction in their incredibly healthy incomes. Be that as it may, Mr Speaker, I do think that it is distressing that the doctors would, for the purposes of their campaign, utilise their patients in this way.


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