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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 707 ..

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I am extremely happy to answer this question again. My understanding, Mr Speaker, Mr Berry and members of this Assembly, is that at this stage we do not have national registration of nurses in this country. What we have is legislation, which we all passed in this place, that requires health professionals, if they operate as health professionals, to be registered here. For Mr Berry's information, the reason we do that is that sometimes there are people who may be registered in other States but who may not have current practice; they may not have actually spent one day in a hospital or anywhere for 20 years. Are you seriously suggesting, Mr Berry, that we say to those people whose practice is way out of date, who may even have some problems with boards in other States, "We will not require any registration here."? Are you seriously suggesting that we should just allow them in here - not registered here, therefore not covered by professional indemnity, therefore - - -

Mr Berry: So, people in Queanbeyan cannot practise in the ACT; they are not good enough!

MRS CARNELL: People in Queanbeyan can operate in the ACT if they are registered in the ACT. Similarly, nurses who are registered in the ACT can practise in New South Wales if they are registered in New South Wales. But in every State in this country, in all the health professions, you have to be registered in the State or Territory that you are actually operating in.

Mr Berry: Not in New South Wales.

MRS CARNELL: Yes, in New South Wales. New South Wales requires you to be registered. You do not have to live there. Similarly, I am registered as a pharmacist in New South Wales. I do not live there, but if I were going to work in New South Wales I would have to be registered in New South Wales. You can go over the border and practise, and you can live in the ACT, but you still have to be registered. The reason you have to be registered is that there are such things as professional indemnity and all of those sorts of issues that are based upon your registration to practise in that jurisdiction.

Mr Berry: There is no mutual recognition in the ACT.

MRS CARNELL: Mutual recognition is based upon the fact that the basis of registration in any State in this country is the same as in every other State, but at this stage in no health profession have we yet moved to national registration. When we do, of course, anyone can practise anywhere, as long as they are nationally registered. As national registration does not exist at this stage, the only option is for each State or Territory to maintain its own registration, therefore its own board, therefore its own peer group review mechanism. That is the approach that we take. Quite seriously, Mr Speaker and Mr Berry, I would prefer health professionals who practise in the ACT to be registered in the ACT.

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