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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2021) . . Page.. 455 ..


whether we will agree to whatever aspects there are, but I think that we would all acknowledge that a select committee will enhance the debate and make it, whether we support it or not, a better form of legislation. I commend my motion to the Assembly.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (11.24): As Mr Hanson has indicated, the government will be supporting his motion to refer the bill to a select committee, and I think that Mr Hanson has clearly articulated the reasons for that. The Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill is the responsibility of the health minister but the issues in relation to decriminalisation go very clearly also to justice and Attorney-General issues. So we agree that this is an appropriate course of action and we will support Mr Hanson’s motion today.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (11.25): I rise on behalf of the ACT Greens to say that we will be supporting Mr Hanson’s motion. Obviously, the ACT Greens have a long track record of being strong advocates for law reform in the drug space. While it would have been our preference—and we have always maintained a strong preference for a health approach to drug law reform—to have seen this bill reviewed in the health committee, no doubt this select committee is a perfectly good compromise in this place to make sure that the bill gets the scrutiny it needs from all angles. I look forward to being able to contribute to this debate, as the health committee concurrently reviews a range of alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related law reform.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 11.26 am to 2.00 pm.

Questions without notice

Canberra Hospital—emergency patient discharge

MS LEE: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, on the night of February 2021, when asked about what you would do differently to ensure that you meet your October deadline of 70 per cent of patients seen on time in ACT emergency departments, you said that you would take a “whole-of-hospital approach”. In 2020 the CEO of CHS talked about implementing a whole-of-hospital approach. Ms Fitzharris, in June and November 2018, also said that she would take a whole-of-hospital approach. Ms Gallagher, in June, July and October 2013, also said that she would take a whole-of-hospital approach. Minister, given that a whole-of-hospital approach has been what your government has been doing for the last eight years or more, what will you do differently to meet your deadline of October 2021?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for her question and remind her again that the data that we are looking at in terms of meeting that timeliness relates to the number of people who are admitted and discharged, present and are discharged from the emergency department, or admitted to the hospital within four hours, to reach that 70 per cent benchmark. That is what I was talking to the journalist about in relation to that comment, and that is the figure that we focused on.


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