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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4022..


Pharmacies-establishment in supermarkets

MRS CROSS

(3.27): Mr Speaker, as indicated by the amendment I have circulated, I seek leave to amend the motion standing in my name on the notice paper, relating to pharmacies in supermarkets.

Leave granted.

MRS CROSS

: I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Government to:

investigate the Pharmacy legislation as it stands and any related commercial legislation and determine whether there are any loopholes which may allow the establishment of pharmacies in supermarkets in the ACT; and

report back to the Assembly with the results of this investigation by 27 November 2003.

I thank members for granting me leave so that this amended motion can be debated today. It is very good to see the Assembly working together to achieve positive outcomes for the general community.

After discussion with a range of members, I was very happy to amend the original motion standing on the notice paper in my name. This amendment maintains the thrust of my original motion and will move the issue from an inquiry to an action situation. With the support of the government, we should be able to determine whether there are any possible loopholes in our legislation and then I will be happy to draft legislation to deal with any problems. I am very keen to protect our pharmacies.

From my discussions with other members it is apparent that the real issue is a practical one. We really need action to make sure that the Canberra community is able to continue to have the services provided by pharmacies in the local shopping centres as well as in the major town centres. I appreciate the broad support indicated by members and their interest on this issue.

We are all aware that pharmacies are a vital part of our community. They provide advice, reassurance, very important medicines and other health care products. We are also all aware of the proposal of Woolworths Ltd to open pharmacies in supermarkets. In fact, recently they have indicated that they appear to have found a loophole in the legislation in New South Wales and are pursuing their aims there.

The Premier of New South Wales, Mr Bob Carr, came out with an unequivocal stance in support of community pharmacies when he opened a recent pharmacy conference. In fact, he stated:

Let me say that I value this industry and I give it this guarantee that we will defend its integrity and the integrity of the pharmaceutical profession against any dangerous or excessive pressures for commercialisation. That means, as we publicly stated, we're committed to the principle that pharmacies should be owned and managed by pharmacists, not by supermarkets.


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