Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2021) . . Page.. 1990 ..
In 2016 Belconnen had the highest rate of bulk-billing in the ACT at 65.5 per cent versus 57 per cent across the rest of the territory. Prior to the start of the co-op the ACT had a bulk-billing rate of only 37 per cent, so it looks like they made a pretty big difference. That is why this week I was so sad to hear that the co-op had gone into voluntary administration.
I am pleased that the government has announced a continuing commitment to its new health centre in Coombs, which was set up alongside the co-op, but I am concerned about access to bulk-billed health services for west Belconnen, Belconnen and Canberra in general.
On a personal note, I also find this deeply problematic. My entire extended family are co-op members and we have received great services. There is a doctor who does rounds at my mother’s nursing home; my partner and I visit our local clinic and get GPs of our choosing. My doctor is the only medical professional I have ever seen who actually runs on time. Not speaking about my family now, but I can also say that the co-op deals pretty well when a child hides under a chair and refuses to have an injection. They seem to have every Disney Band-Aid that has ever been made.
Once again a lack of federal funding has left us with a local problem. We need proper federal funding so that everyone can access the medical, dental and allied health services they need. Once again we are left in the ACT to fix a problem we have not created.
I look forward to next steps and further information on how Canberrans will be able to access convenient and affordable health services in their local area. I am particularly concerned about our Belconnen community, which has so many co-op clinics. I feel we will be most impacted by any possible changes. I am glad we will continue to have co-op services during the next three months of trading, and I encourage any concerned Belconnen residents to reach out and get in touch with my office on this issue.
MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra—Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Business and Better Regulation, Minister for Human Rights and Minister for Multicultural Affairs) (4.43): I do apologise, Madam Speaker; it looks like Mr Cain and I have similar speeches, perhaps drawing from the same material, and I think Mr Cain may have even drawn from my Facebook post.
Today is a special day and, wherever we are from, I think we can be excited to celebrate Belconnen’s birthday. Belconnen today turns 55 years old. Of course, as Mr Cain also rightly acknowledged, these lands are tens of thousands of years old and it is worth not just acknowledging but also emphasising that these always were and always will be Aboriginal lands, home to the Ngunnawal people.
Belconnen’s more recent history resulted in European farmers arriving in the mid-1800s. There is a tree, a foreign tree—for lack of a better word—an exotic tree, that is right across from where I live near the Belconnen library that is a marker of these times. An area that is very familiar to people in the Belconnen region, particularly