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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3081 ..

announce that practical completion will be achieved on time this month, and under budget, with services commencing next month.

MR PETTERSSON: Will the Gungahlin walk-in centre operations be similar to the Tuggeranong and Belconnen walk-in centres?

MS FITZHARRIS: Yes. The Gungahlin walk-in centre will operate under the same existing service model that is present at both the Tuggeranong and Belconnen walk-in centres, aiming to complement both GP and ED services. The centres ensure that people can have access to high quality, extended hours healthcare services closer to where they live. All centres are led by a team of highly skilled nurses working under approved guidelines, overseen by a steering committee comprising medical, pharmacy, ambulance and consumer representatives.

Similar to the popular Tuggeranong and Belconnen walk-in centres, the Gungahlin walk-in centre will improve services to the Gungahlin community and surrounding area by providing free one-off advice and treatment for people with minor injuries or illnesses. Just like the other two walk-in centres, Gungahlin will operate seven days a week between 7.30 am and 10 pm, including all public holidays, with no appointment required. It has on-site parking and is conveniently located right in the Gungahlin town centre, collocated with the Gungahlin Community Health Centre.

MS CHEYNE: Minister, how will the walk-in centre assist Canberrans to access affordable health care?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Ms Cheyne for the supplementary. Just like the walk-in centres in Tuggeranong and Belconnen, the walk-in centre in Gungahlin will offer fast, free and efficient access to treatment for one-off, episodic care for minor injury and illnesses, as well as health advice and information.

This demonstrates Labor’s commitment to the importance of free and affordable health care for Canberrans, unlike those opposite, who continually question the validity of walk-in centres and in fact want to shut them down. This is on top of their federal Liberal colleagues continually cutting money from health, reneging on their previous election commitment to increase funding to hospitals, extending the Medicare rebate freeze and, instead, prioritising the top end of town with generous tax cuts.

Just today we are again reminded by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that the ACT has the highest out-of-pocket costs for GP attendance, due to our ongoing lower rates of bulk-billing. That is exactly why our government is committed to ensuring access to affordable health care for our community, and committed to not shutting the centres down. We will grow the number of walk-in centres because it is an important part of Labor’s commitment to universal health care. Not only are we opening the walk-in centre in Gungahlin, we are also very close to getting work underway on a walk-in centre in Weston Creek and we are continuing to progress work on the inner north walk-in centre.

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