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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 171 ..

is a significant investment in Canberra’s youngest citizens and their families, and will see the creation of a new ward to help accommodate 40 new maternity beds.

Our government also has a strong focus on keeping children active. The report on government services shows some sad statistics regarding just how many kids are missing out on being active, and on high obesity levels. Fortunately, in the ACT our children have the equal lowest rates of obesity in the country. Our government recognises that this is an important thing to address. Fantastic initiatives such as the active streets and ride and walk to school programs are greatly assisting ACT children to do their recommended period of physical activity every day.

We need to help keep our youngest and most vulnerable Canberrans as healthy as possible. Our government will continue to provide the best practice examples for immunisation in all age groups. We lead the nation in immunisation coverage across all age groups. This year students will, for the first time, be offered meningococcal W vaccinations free in the ACT. We will also continue to provide free whooping cough vaccination for expectant mums. I apparently had whooping cough when I was a baby, so I think this is a really important measure.

From birth to old age, health has remained a top priority for the government. We live the longest, smoke the least and deliver quality health services through our hospital and our medical practitioners. As our population continues to grow, the government’s 10-year health plan is ready to meet the incoming demand. It is looking to the future and it is a smart investment in the future healthcare needs of the territory. We will continue to strengthen our existing system to ensure that all Canberrans live long, happy and healthy lives. This motion captures well the significant investments that our government continues to make to ensure that the health of Canberrans is a priority. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.40): Madam Speaker, I am surprised that Ms Cheyne has chosen to bring this motion on health this week, given that it is becoming obvious that our health system is in a state of crisis. We know how things work in government on private member’s day. Backbenchers are told to go off and talk about the issue of the day that is the most important, and it seems that Ms Cheyne has been given a hospital pass on this one and has really drawn the short straw to have to come in here today and defend Labor’s history on health.

Labor’s history on health is a poor one, considering that when Labor came to government the ACT had some of the best waiting times in the country and it now has some of the worst. And there are many other things that I will touch on that show why the ACT health system is facing a crisis under this Labor government. It is not a reflection upon the people who work in the system but it is a reflection upon the system that this government has created.

The motion that Ms Cheyne has put forward does not tally with the lived experiences of my constituents, who frequently call me, send me letters and email, and talk to me at the shops about their concerns about the health system. My constituents raise concerns about long waiting lists for elective surgery and hidden waiting lists to see

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