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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2641 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

The Assembly saw otherwise. It said, "No, you will not allow doctors who do not 100 per cent bulk-bill in these centres". We have tried to salvage the situation by getting into the centres doctors who now 100 per cent bulk-bill and it is proving to be extremely difficult. Even though we have offered a 30 per cent reduction in the rent of the centres, it is still proving to be extraordinarily difficult. Mr Speaker, the bottom line of all of this is that we cannot revitalise our valuable public assets, the health centres, using this model. It simply does not work. Those opposite know that fact as well. We have to think of some better way of doing it.

Mr Speaker, I close by quoting Mr Connolly. When he was Minister for Health and he was in his honest phase he said this:

I have indicated that, if GPs want to run a bulkbilling practice and rent space in our health centres, we are happy to look at that, because it allows us to focus health centre effort on other areas.

His policy was to gradually move those services away from 100 per cent government ownership and 100 per cent bulk-billing towards another model. Mr Speaker, we can achieve a mixed model by going down this path. We clearly cannot sustain the services offered by those opposite on this model. They should be honest enough to accept it, and to accept that we need to be looking at some different way of providing those services.

Debate (on motion by Ms Tucker) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2.30 pm


Children with Disabilities - Summer Programs

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I have a question for Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Education. Minister, I refer you to your decision to cancel the summer programs at Malkara and Cranleigh schools. My question is: Who was consulted about this decision? Why was the decision made? What programs will replace the summer programs? What is the cost to parents of the replacement programs compared to that of the previous programs that were available?

MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for her question. Mr Speaker, the department indicated that the programs at Malkara would not be continuing. I have made a number of inquiries and the department has done a number of things. Ms Follett, the Government will be replacing the Malkara summer school with a superior service for parents. Places will be made available in holiday programs operating in the community. These programs will be conducted for longer hours each day than was the case with the Malkara program. They will also be more inclusive, in that children with disabilities will be mixing with children from regular schools, and they will be available in - - -

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