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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 November 2010) . . Page.. 5484 ..

where Canberra is in a good position to easily make improvements in the sustainability of our lifestyle.

I commend the Vales and their book to anyone who has a spare moment to read it. It goes through a lot of things and is sincerely food for thought for all of us who are interested in the sustainability of Canberra and the world.

Ben Donohoe run and walk for fun

Tour de Femme

Hospitals—emergency departments

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women) (5.12), in reply: I am the last speaker, so I will close the debate. I want to briefly mention a couple of things.

One of them is the Ben Donohoe run and walk for fun that was held two weekends ago on the shores of Lake Ginninderra, which was organised by the Hawker college. They did a fantastic job. There were hundreds of people out there at a reasonable time in the morning to raise funds for cancer research. I would like to thank Hawker college, because it ran very smoothly. They are very hard events to run, to make sure everyone gets around in time and safely. They did a great job.

I send the same message to the Canberra Cycling Club, particularly Maryann Simpson and her team who organised the Tour de Femme on Sunday. Again, I rode the Tour de Femme this year, probably the fourth or fifth time that I have ridden it. I would say there were more than 600 cyclists, all women, at varying ranges of ability and fitness, all enjoying the 20-kilometre cycle around beautiful parts of Canberra. It was a very well organised event and a fantastic result. I would like to acknowledge the effort that is put into it by community organisations to raise funds for really valuable causes.

The other issue, finally, is that I want to extend my thanks to all the staff working across the two public hospitals at the moment, Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital. The two hospitals are experiencing periods of unprecedented demand. Presentations to the emergency department on Sunday reached 481 across both of our hospitals.

To put that into perspective, that was 247 at Canberra Hospital and 237 at Calvary. A normal day, if there is such a thing in emergency department time, is around 160 at Canberra and 130 at Calvary. The only other time that we have seen numbers comparable to that was when Canberra Hospital saw 251 presentations on the day of the 2003 bushfires. To give you an understanding of just how busy the hospitals are, yesterday Canberra had over 221 presentations and I am advised that it was a similar number at Calvary.

I understand this will mean that some people are waiting to be seen but the message really is that our staff are working as hard as they can. We do not know why so many people are presenting to the emergency departments. In fact, we cannot tell why at the moment, because people are too busy actually seeing the patients to analyse why they are coming. But we will do that, because this is a level of demand that has simply not been experienced in the territory before, with no apparent explanation.

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