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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 302..

MR WOOD (continuing):

going from those horse paddocks. I will get back to you with advice as to the future of those paddocks and the horses that are agisted there.

MS DUNDAS: Thank you, Minister. I cannot understand why you cannot answer the question. Will you be working to identify an alternative site, such as the pasture near the old 2XX site on Bellenden Road, if it is the case that the horses cannot continue to be agisted there?

MR WOOD: The management of horse paddocks is also controlled by the Department of Urban Services so I will report to you what other sites are available. There are many sites. Some of them have been affected more recently, as you know, by Paterson's curse and horses had to be removed. However, I will find out for you where these horses will go.

Pharmacies-establishment in supermarkets

MRS CROSS: My question is to the Minister for Health, Mr Corbell. As you will no doubt recall, in October last year a motion presented in my name passed through this Assembly unanimously supporting the concept of not allowing pharmacies to be set up within the premises of a supermarket. Following this, it has come to my attention that a pharmacist has approached a supermarket in Gowrie to set up a pharmacy within the walls of this supermarket. Minister, are you and this government aware of plans by a local pharmacist to establish a pharmacy within the walls of a local supermarket in the suburb of Gowrie?

MR CORBELL: No, I am not aware of that proposal.

MRS CROSS: I ask a supplementary question. What is the government doing to ensure that pharmacies in the ACT cannot be established within the walls of a supermarket?

MR CORBELL: This is a difficult policy issue and not one on which this government has formed a view. The first and foremost issue is public safety: can we be assured that the operation of a pharmacy is being undertaken by those who have the qualifications to administer and prescribe drugs safely and in accordance with the appropriate procedures? Our pharmacy controls are stringent; they require that only a registered pharmacist undertake that work. So in the context of public safety, which has to be the first and most important priority, I have every confidence in our existing regulations.

That then raises the issue of whether it is appropriate for a pharmacy to be located within a supermarket. This is essentially not an issue of public safety; it is an issue of the perception held by some pharmacists and some in the community that the operation of pharmacies in supermarkets can undermine the operation of stand-alone community pharmacies, and the perception of others that the location of a pharmacy in a supermarket will add convenience to consumers and an opportunity to access services from a pharmacist that they would not otherwise be able to do, particularly-it has been suggested by some-after-hours. Members would be aware that the number of after-hours pharmacies in the ACT is extremely limited. I think only one pharmacy in Lyneham operates outside normal trading hours.

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