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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1935 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

If you want the best you have to pay the sort of money that major teaching hospitals all around this country are paying, and that is exactly what we are doing this time. Terry, it would be really fascinating to see what would happen to the work rate of those opposite if we put you all under performance-based contracts. Possibly that is the reason why Mr Berry opposes them.

Homebirth Program

MR MOORE: My question to the Chief Minister and Minister for Health is also on health matters. Mrs Carnell, you made a commitment on 30 March 1995, and repeated it again on 1 April 1995 at the Birth Wise conference, that the Department of Health is working towards the inclusion of homebirth in the ACT community midwives project within 12 months. Will you now confirm that homebirth will be offered as a choice to Canberra women by March 1996?

MRS CARNELL: I certainly made a commitment that homebirth will be part of the whole process within 12 months. I do not think that will be March 1996, but I can guarantee that it will be available as an option for Canberra women next year.

MR MOORE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Chief Minister, the commitment was made on 30 March 1995. You were to meet your commitment by the end of March 1996, or perhaps some people would prefer 1 April as the date. I remind you that there is a 31 March. Meeting that commitment would take you through to the end of March 1996. Will you do so?

MRS CARNELL: The commitment certainly stands, Mr Moore. As you know, it is something that I feel very strongly about. I am also very pleased to note that the community midwives project is going so well in the ACT. We all saw recently that the first babies in that project have been born. I understand that those babies were the first babies born in Australia under the community midwife approach. It is obviously a project that women in Canberra are embracing. We already have a waiting list for the project. It is one where women are - - -

Members interjected.

Mr Kaine: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister is attempting to answer a question and all I can hear is the Opposition cackling like a bunch of battery hens. Can you stop them?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Kaine, we have already had that question, but I do uphold the point of order.

MRS CARNELL: The community midwives project allows women choice as to the sort of care they have during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. As I said, it is working very well. The final piece of that puzzle is homebirth and it is an absolutely essential part. It does have my total support.

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