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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2906 ..

In relation to those who have expressed an interest in joining our response to COVID-19, more than 1,500 people, as Mrs Jones indicated, have expressed their interest, with more than 500 additional staff who have temporarily joined the frontline health workforce and administrative teams, including 333 nurses. AHPRA and the national boards are supporting the COVID-19 response by helping to provide access to a potential surge workforce, and they are responsible for the registration, not the ACT government. But we work closely with them to ensure that people can come back.

There are many more points that I could make because Mrs Jones’s motion is so broad, but I am running out of time. So I thank her for the opportunity to talk about all of the incredible work that is underway right across our health services and to thank our healthcare workers.

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (3.38): The ACT Greens will be supporting the amendments to Mrs Jones’s motion circulated by Minister Stephen-Smith. It would be remiss of me to rise to my feet to speak of public health care in the territory without first acknowledging the tremendous hard work and dedicated commitment to their profession of thousands of frontline healthcare workers right across the territory as the government continues to battle the outbreak of COVID-19. Tens of thousands, potentially even hundreds of thousands, of Canberrans have had a new relationship with ACT Health that they most likely would not have had prior to the pandemic, and I think you will find that the average Canberran has received positively the services and health care provided by ACT Health in these trying times.

I received my first dose of the vaccine at the AIS mass vaccination clinic a few weeks ago, and it is a credit to the directorate and all of the frontline health staff what a professional and sophisticated public health set up that is—a model for what public health care should look like in the 21st century.

Over the last year since the six Greens were elected, I have been in the fortunate position of responding to a few of Mrs Jones’s motions on public health care that are reminiscent of this one today. Mrs Jones has given me several opportunities to talk about the ACT Greens’ vision of health care in this sitting, and to discuss what informed, evidence-based and bold healthcare policy can look like.

The ACT Greens know that access to well-resourced, easy to navigate, quality, secular health care is a fundamental human right and a pillar of our liberal democracy. In a society like ours, everyone who needs medical support should be able to access it, no matter their income or circumstances.

I am pleased to take the opportunity to talk again today about the Greens’ plan for health care in the ACT. This is especially the case since several of our key election commitments have just been funded in this year’s budget. With three of our ministers in cabinet and three of us advocating from the crossbench, this budget is the Greenest budget in the country.

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