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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 October 2010) . . Page.. 5224 ..

Belconnen Health Cooperative and, if it proves to be successful, provide information and support to community groups interested in establishing a health cooperative, or a similar model in their local community;”.

(2) In paragraph (4)(a), omit “explore opportunities for the establishment of”, substitute: “provide information and support to community groups interested in establishing”.

(3) Insert new paragraph (4)(aa):

“(aa) explore opportunities for providing funding assistance to those community groups that are interested in establishing a co-op and wish to undertake a Feasibility Study, similar to what was undertaken by the West Belconnen Health Co-op;”.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (6.26): I thank Mrs Dunne for bringing this issue to the Assembly. I think all of us here are pleased to see the success of the West Belconnen Health Co-op and the role that the founding members of that co-op have played in the incredible success of this new model of care.

I had the opportunity to speak with West Belconnen Health Co-op members on Saturday at community cabinet where they came to speak with me around plans they have to look at expanding. I reiterated the government’s willingness to work very closely with them and provide them with support should they need it.

Back in 2008, the government provided a commitment to fund a capital component of $200,000, with an agreement of matching funding to be provided by the commonwealth for the West Belconnen Health Co-op. This was after providing the financial support for the feasibility study. This funding has been well utilised and has already reaped great rewards for the west Belconnen community.

We have worked, as a government, over a number of years to assist in the attraction and retention of GPs to the region, through supporting practices in a range of ways, and will continue to do so in the future. This is despite the fact that the commonwealth government holds the primary responsibility for general practice. The ACT government has implemented a range of initiatives to seek to address GP shortage but also to support existing general practice across the ACT to deal with the workloads that they are managing.

The ACT government provided funding of $281,000 for a marketing and support position to work at the Division of General Practice to specifically target GP workforce shortage. In addition to this initial investment, funding has recently been provided to extend this role and increase its capacity. Since the officer’s appointment in May 2008, 18 area of need authorisations have been approved, 150 calls of interest have been received, 23 GPs have commenced in the ACT, with one more to commence later this year, and the employment section on the Division of General Practice’s website has been expanded to contain vacancies, fact sheets and other information for prospective GP applicants and employers.

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