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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 90 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

There are many circumstances where urgent approval to prescribe is required, such as where a patient has forgotten to renew a prescription in enough time to allow for the approval process or where a patient requires the prescription outside normal business hours. In these circumstances it would be more efficient and timely to be able to receive applications and provide approvals over the telephone.

While this is a minor amendment to the act, it is an important one. Drug approvals are an issue over the holiday season, when office staff may be absent. The government is concerned to have this amendment in place over the Christmas period to ensure that people who need efficient access to prescription drugs receive timely consideration of their needs. For this reason I introduce this bill today with the hope that it can be debated and agreed to by the Assembly on Thursday this week.

To promote a better understanding of the bill, I have arranged for officers from the Department of Health and Community Care, including the ACT Chief Pharmacist, to provide a briefing on this amendment to the offices of Ms Tucker, Ms Dundas and Mr Smyth. I commend these amendments to the Assembly and trust they will receive the support they deserve.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Appropriation Bill 2001-2002 (No 2)

Mr Quinlan presented the bill and a supplementary budget paper.

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (4.15): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The bill provides an increase in appropriation of $32.139 million to fund two broad categories of expenditure. The first type relates to commitments that we have inherited from the previous government, which were announced prior to the election. I can confirm that this government will provide for these previous commitments.

Included in this appropriation bill is funding of $4 million for the increase in the SACS award, funding of $800,000 for several tourism initiatives-particularly in light of the recent collapse of Ansett-and $289,000 to fund the national eradication program for the imported red fire ant. The bill also provides for funding of $6.6 million in relation to the nurses' enterprise bargaining agreement and $8.4 million for the increased overhead cost allocation and enterprise bargaining cost for ACT policing. All of these were identified by the previous government.

The second broad category of expenditure relates to election commitments that this government will be implementing in this financial year. I would like to announce that funding will be allocated to the following initiatives: $8.7 million to the Canberra Hospital to fund the employment of additional nurses-as promised-increased

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