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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2633 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

Paragraph 2, insert the words "long term" after "including".

Paragraphs 3 and 4, omit the paragraphs.

I think that in the speech that I just gave I made clear why I wanted to move those three amendments. The first amendment changes the focus of paragraph 1 to make sure that we are talking about bulk-billing GPs that provide bulk-billing services for pensioners, health care card holders and low income earners, and that if we cannot get those sorts of GPs into our health centres we will reinstate a salaried medical practitioner program. I believe totally that we will be able to get doctors into our health centres if we approach it from this angle. Of course, it is exactly the angle that Mr Connolly approached it from, which is interesting. Until we had the motion that was moved and passed in this Assembly about 100 per cent bulk-billing, we had a number of the GPs who were very interested in staying in the health centres, as Dr Wardman said in his letter. I believe that by taking that approach we can guarantee that medical services are available out of our health centres by people who are bulk-billing those that need them most.

The second amendment is to clarify what casual staff means, in line with what I said in this Assembly, to add "long term". I think I have adequately covered why paragraphs 3 and 4 should not be passed, or should be omitted. I think that in this Assembly we have to make sure that health services are flexible, are where people need them on the ground, and not have aged care services in areas where there are babies, or baby services where there are predominantly older people in our community. I believe strongly that we should not be spending money on bricks and mortar when we could be spending it on services.

MR BERRY (12.02): I am pleased that Mrs Carnell moved those amendments because it exposes her farcical argument in relation to this whole matter. Mrs Carnell was one who argued strenuously before the last election on the issue of salaried community medical practitioners, and anybody out there in the community would think that she was serious. But, of course, that was before the last election. Members in this place have heard honeyed promises before from Mrs Carnell and are now joining the long list of people who never believe her because she cannot be believed because of the language that she has used in relation to our facilities right across the Territory. Just in relation to one of her amendments, when she tries to support the sale of our important facilities, it goes back to the old argument that you sell the bricks and mortar to pay for your next meal, does it not? What do you do when you have sold your bricks and mortar?

Mrs Carnell: But it is not selling it. It is the on-costs that cost us. You do not even understand what the argument is. It is the cost - - -

MR BERRY: Mrs Carnell might be kind enough not to be so rude. She took her turn in the debate. It would be nice if you could get her to quieten down a little bit, Mr Speaker.

We then came to a position where this Assembly passed a motion which rejected the Government's announced decision to remove salaried medical practitioner services from community health centres unless the health centres are managed as 100 per cent bulk-billing practices for general practitioner services. Mrs Carnell ignored that decision.

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