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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 July 2019) . . Page.. 2490 ..


MR COE: Minister, why is it that mothers leave hospitals after a birth more quickly here than anywhere else in Australia?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Coe for the question. I will take the detail of the question on notice, but I would note that as a general proposition staying in hospital longer than necessary is not a good idea.

MR COE: Minister, is it not a case of capacity pressures at the hospital rather than clinical fitness of the patients that is driving early post-natal discharges?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I will take the question on notice.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what is your plan to give new mums the time they need in hospital to recover from what could be the gruelling experience of childbirth, rather than to succumb to the Labor government’s history of under-resourcing the hospital?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mrs Dunne for the supplementary question. Of course, I completely reject the premise of the question. Our plan is to continue to provide excellent maternity services across the ACT health system. The feedback that we get is that generally people have a really excellent experience across our health system. Canberrans are telling us that the primary experience that they have across the health system, including in maternity, is one of good health care. That is what we intend to continue to deliver.

Transport Canberra—weekend bus services

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the minister for transport and relates to the unacceptable number of cancellations of weekend bus services. Are these cancellations a result of the enterprise agreement which, I understand, does not require weekend work or pay an additional penalty rate for such work?

MR STEEL: I thank Ms Le Couteur for her question. I certainly acknowledge the issues around bus reliability on weekends. Our new transport system does have more buses running more often on the weekends—same route, same number—which has seen a significant number of people taking more journeys, around 30 per cent. However, there have been some issues with reliability on weekends, with drivers not necessarily taking up the shifts that we thought they would with the new network.

That is something that we continue to work closely with the Transport Workers Union on, and we are looking at a range of other options. Recruiting more drivers will be a significant focus of that work. To ensure that weekend reliability is there, we need to make sure that there are more bus drivers to meet the need for increased services. Over the coming three months, a further 34 trainees are scheduled to undertake training to become bus drivers, thus increasing the number of bus drivers.

Ms Le Couteur: A point of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: Minister, resume your seat, please.


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