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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1544 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

As far as I can see, the net benefit that went to first home owners was only to change the relationship between the necessary deposit and the amount of loan they could take. The grant, in large part, went to make up the deposit. Otherwise, the real value accrued to the builders, the developers and the home sellers, with the genuine prospect that there is a distortion in the market that will later reverse, when we may find that we are paying for the election promise that was brought forward last year. I certainly hope that does not happen. I hope that if it does it happens in a gradual fashion and allows for the economy to adjust. With the various pressures you can see building in the Australian economy, this is potentially just another one. It is a bit of a shame that it went from a scheme to try to boost housing construction to just a sheer election sweetener.

Thank you, members, for your support of the bill, which is purely the mechanics of administering our end of the scheme.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.14 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

After-hours primary medical care

MR SMYTH: My question is to Mr Stanhope as Minister for Health. Minister, in your ministerial statement of 11 December you made a commitment to work with the ACT Division of General Practice and other key stakeholders to develop an agreed approach to improving after-hours primary medical care in the ACT. You stated that you expected that the agreed approach would be developed within three months, with a view to implementing it in six months. Minister, have you kept this commitment?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Smyth, for the question. After-hours care is one of the significant issues that we face here in the ACT. The department, my colleagues and I have been working hard on after-hours services and the extension of GP services throughout Canberra. Indeed, following a question last Thursday, I mentioned an anticipated meeting that was to be held between Tuggeranong Community Council, Mr Hargreaves and my office about GP and after-hours services in the Tuggeranong Valley. That issue has been progressed by my office and my department on a number of fronts, so significant work has certainly been undertaken.

As Mr Smyth will be aware, a trial of a GP service at Canberra Hospital was initiated by the previous minister for health to alleviate pressure on accident and emergency at the Canberra Hospital. That trial was deemed, on its assessment, not to have been a success, and other options are currently being pursued.

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