Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (10 April) . . Page.. 911 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
I think this was reported in the last annual report of the department of health. I understand that the two most infectious diseases in Canberra, or the two that had most increased, were chlamydia and measles. There are serious concerns for us in relation to the spread of both of those diseases.
At the same time as the significant increase in chlamydia was reported, there was a report of a threefold increase in the incidence of HIV in the ACT. However, I believe that was something of an aberration. I understand that, since that last reporting period, the incidence of HIV has returned to a level more consistent with the years prior to that.
There are a worrying number of cases of chlamydia in the ACT, of course. In most instances, these go very much to the sexual activities and proclivities of an identifiable group within the community.
We certainly need to do more to address the incidence of chlamydia. That is being addressed through education programs run through community care and the department of health. It is an issue that the department, and the government, is keenly aware of-as was the previous government.
The increase in the rate of chlamydia came to attention whilst Michael Moore was minister. He responded to that quite seriously and significantly. We are maintaining our determination that the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is an issue of seriousness and one that we address. We will do the same in relation to concerns about that perhaps aberrant increase in the level of HIV infection that we suffered over the past year. That matched a very significant increase in HIV, particularly in Victoria, to the point where there were major concerns around Australia that the safe-sex message had been diluted, and that a level of complacency had crept in. We had, in that period, seen that very worrying upsurge in both HIV and the associated increase in the rate of chlamydia.
MS DUNDAS: Given that chlamydia is such a serious disease and that only about 35 per cent of year 10 students know that chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease, do you agree that it is now time to relook at the ACT's nine-year-old policy of banning condoms in schools?
MR STANHOPE: I must confess this is not something I have bent my mind to, in the past six months or so. In relation to all issues around ensuring appropriate health outcomes and a healthy community, I am prepared to consider any option that would be supported, and would deliver to us significant and appropriate health outcomes. I would have to take advice on that issue and am happy to do that.
Budget consultation document
MS GALLAGHER: My question is directed to the Treasurer, Mr Quinlan. Yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Humphries, during his speech on the presentation of the report of the Select Committee on Estimates, complained about the level of detail in the budget consultation document. His words were: