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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2726 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

coming out of this issue, with reference to older people, mental impairment and the quality of Australian health. The language, in terms of health partnership and health promotion, I think, is very positive; but I support Mr Berry's warning that it is easy to get the language right. It will be very interesting to observe what happens under the Howard Federal Government and to see the extent to which we change back to a system of control, rather than have a system where the national health goals and targets to the year 2000 seek to empower people in the way that Mrs Carnell pointed out as representing the agreement of those Ministers.

There were also some rather specific issues that Mrs Carnell talked about, such as meeting national food standards. I think the fact that it took her so long recently to get control of the peanut butter problem shows that our epidemiological processes are not yet firmly enough in place to be able to respond very quickly, to work out how to deal with such food standards and to work out where the problem is coming from and how it is being caused. They are, of course, very difficult things to determine at times; so it is even more important to ensure that we do have appropriate standards in place. Indeed, Mrs Carnell is suggesting that that is what is being worked towards. So, I am rather pleased to see that.

Finally, in relation to the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy, Mr Speaker, the issue here is not whether prohibition works or does not work, or even staying with such bland statements, because all they are is exactly that - bland statements. In fact, in this Assembly and through this community there has been very sensible debate as to what is the best way to resolve the problems. Of course, there are going to be differences of opinion; but those differences of opinion are not helped by trying to attribute to somebody statements that are not part and parcel of what they are conveying.

I would like to congratulate the Chief Minister in this case for the leadership she has shown in terms of the heroin trial, at a time when it was particularly difficult to do so. I think, through that leadership, our general focus is on the amount of harm. Mr Berry himself, as Minister, worked very hard on reducing the amount of harm. Indeed, he stood up and took credit - rightly, as I said - for the work he put into the methadone program. I hope that there will be not just a reduction in harm associated with burglaries, but also, with the methadone program, a reduction in harm associated with a whole range of living skills, with help given to the individuals involved as well. I know that that has always been part of Mr Berry's concern as well. Mr Speaker, I will be watching, and I know that Mr Berry and others will be watching, to see that we do not just hear flowery language from the Chief Minister but that it is followed up by appropriate action across the whole range of health issues.

MR SPEAKER: During the Chief Minister's ministerial statement, members may have noticed that the clock was on and that the bell rang. As members would be aware, ministerial statements can last as long as the Minister wishes. Therefore, it was an accident that the clock was on.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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