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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4516 ..

Health—primary care infrastructure grants(Question No 1063)

Ms Bresnan asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 26 August 2010:

(1) On what date was a letter sent out by the ACT Government to general practitioners regarding the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants Program, providing information about how they could make an application, given that the letter was signed by the Minister on 28 July 2010 and applications to the Australian Government closed on 20 August, however some general practitioners did not receive the letter until 16 August, giving them only four days to make the application.

(2) Has the Minister received any complaints from any general practitioners that they did not receive the letter in time to make an application; if so, how is the ACT Government and Australian Government responding to these complaints.

Ms Gallagher: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) My letter to Canberra GPs was not sent out until Thursday 12 August, meaning most GPs did not receive their letters until Monday 16 August. It was regrettable that there was a delay in sending these reminder letters out to GPs.

For the members information, in its 2010 – 11 Budget, handed down in May 2010, the Australian Government announced it would be providing an additional $355 million in funding to the GP SuperClinics Program. This funding is to be used to support the construction of 23 new GP SuperClinics, and to fund the Primary Care Infrastructure Grants Program (the Program). The Program aims to enable the upgrade of approximately 425 existing general practices, primary care and community health services, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services across the country.

Details of the Program, including guidelines and applications were released on the website of the Australian Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) on 24 June 2010. DoHA is responsible for the rollout and administration of the Program, and GPs across the country have had more than four days to make an application.

The ACT Division of General Practice (ACTDGP) had also indicated to me that it would run a promotion on the program in its newsletter. Similarly, the Australian General Practice Network ran a news article on the Program; the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, in July 2010, released a detailed guide for its members into completing the Program’s application form; and the Australian Medical Association, on 13 August 2010 released a guide for medical practices to the Program.

When the Program, being offered through the Australian Government was brought to my attention, I recognised the opportunity presenting itself to Canberra GPs to access some vital funding. The intent of my letter was to ensure GPs in Canberra were aware of the program, in case they had not become so already through the media or other channels such as the Australian Government, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian Medical Association or the ACTDGP.

My letter was not an announcement of the Program, and it is important to recognise that the ACT Government is not responsible for administering the Program. There

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