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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 6 June 2019) . . Page.. 2180 ..

Your petitioners therefore request the Assembly to call on the ACT Government to:

keep the hydrotherapy pool at the Canberra Hospital open and maintained until a new dedicated hydrotherapy pool is built on the south side of Canberra.

Pursuant to standing order 99A, the petitions were referred to the Standing Committee on Health, Ageing and Community Services.

The Clerk having announced that the terms of the petitions would be recorded in Hansard and referred to the appropriate ministers for response pursuant to standing order 100, the petitions were received.

Motion to take note of petitions

MADAM SPEAKER: Pursuant to standing order 98A, I move:

That the petitions so lodged be noted.

Canberra Hospital—hydrotherapy pool—petitions 10-19 and 18-19

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (10.02): Today I table two petitions, with a total of 3,290 signatories, regarding the hydrotherapy pool at the Canberra Hospital, asking the government to keep the pool open until a suitable alternative is found on Canberra’s south side. These petitions were started only two months ago but before the debate on the same topic which we had in this chamber in the last sitting. The good news is that, after being faced with a debate that the minister should have seen coming, she did agree with the request by today’s petitioners.

The announcement that the government made that they would close the hydrotherapy pool on 30 June 2019 was met with severe concern by south side residents who use or know someone who uses the pool for hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is exactly the kind of health activity that we need more, not less, of in Canberra. It is used by those suffering chronic illnesses, as well as some who are recovering. The process of building up strength is often the only exercise that these individuals can undertake. They spend several hours each week in the water to regain or maintain the ability to walk, live with less pain or function without the aid of carers or even more intensive medical help.

I applaud the hydrotherapy users for taking their health in their hands, getting up often at the crack of dawn to attend the limited sessions at the Canberra Hospital hydrotherapy pool, and for taking action on the impending closure of the facility in this way.

This is a very sizeable petition that I bring to the Assembly today, and it will be referred to a committee. I hope the committee seeks clarification from the government on what process it is undertaking to ensure that there are always suitable hydrotherapy facilities on both the north and the south side of Canberra.

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