Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 4936 ..
effort of ACT Health. Our staff are dedicated; they work hard and the government supports them to do as good a job as they can in the challenging circumstances they often face.
The Greens will not be supporting this motion today. We do not agree with Mrs Dunne’s characterisation of the role Minister Fitzharris has been playing. Obviously I deal with Ms Fitzharris frequently, both in cabinet and through our one-on-one meetings where we work together to coordinate the performance of ACT Health, particularly on governance issues such as the recent splitting of the directorate into two separate organisations. I have great confidence that Minister Fitzharris is dedicated to the portfolio and is working hard.
Health a challenging portfolio. Every minister who has ever held it in the time I have been in this place has faced similar criticisms to what Mrs Dunne is putting forward today. That is the nature of health—it is challenging. It is a large, complex system with growing demand on a constant basis. But I am confident that Minister Fitzharris is striving to address those challenges and that we are making progress in ensuring that ACT Health continues to improve.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.02), in reply: Madam Speaker, it is quite typical of the approach that the Labor Party has taken in health in this term that we are in this situation today. Nothing typifies it more than the approach taken in this debate by Mr Barr, who attempted to turn it into a debate on health funding.
This is not the day for the debate on health funding; this is the day on which we have a discussion about whether or not this chamber should censure the minister for health. If the Chief Minister wants to have a debate about health funding, knock yourself out; I will gladly come to the table. And when we do come to the table, we will put forward the Australian approach to health funding, which is a combination of privately provided and publicly provided health services which is unique in the world, excels in the world and is a model which many across the world aspire to.
We have to remember that it is a combination of publicly provided and privately provided services. One of the problems with the bland assertions about free public health services is that they do not take into account that most of us who are able to do so pay some of our own way in the health system, thereby relieving the burden on the tax system so that we can provide free public health services to those who could not otherwise access it.
I will go straight from there to the issue of the nurse-led walk-in centre. I will say it again so that this minister never again misrepresents the Canberra Liberals: my predecessor, Mr Hanson, and I have comprehensively, conclusively and repeatedly said, over nearly 10 years now, that we would not close nurse-led walk-in centres; we would change the model. We would ensure that there were doctors available at walk-in centres. We would do what we could to ensure that there was bulk-billing in nurse-led walk-in centres so that the commonwealth could pay some of the cost, which is currently borne almost entirely by the ACT taxpayer because this government does not know how to cost shift to the commonwealth.