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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1568 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

facility, which we know is important. That is why we put the money in last year's budget. He has acknowledged that it is important but has done nothing about it. Again you see promises but very little action here.

The statement went on to talk about providing a more strategic response to the associated problems of illicit drug use and crime. Ms Tucker got in early. She moved her motion last week to set up the drugs task force, and that was supported. That is good. It raises the question of the Chief Minister's commitment to setting up a safe injecting room in the ACT. I note again that it has been put off because we are waiting for the results from New South Wales. The circumstances in the ACT are significantly different to those in King's Cross. I urge the Chief Minister to look at that. Perhaps he will have a road to Damascus conversion and we will see it a little bit earlier.

The statement said, "The government will improve elective surgery waiting lists." I hope they do. I hope they can match the record of the previous government. You were the health minister, Mr Speaker, for some of the period when the list got to 4,567 people. When we left office, it was at a very low level. It was closer to 3,000. You have to find where the waiting lists are now, because this open and accountable government have hidden them in the library.

We used to table them, Mr Speaker. I think we had a bit of a barney with you back in the early 1990s about the level of accountability. With that in mind, we said that we would table them. That is something we did. What was the first action of the open and accountable part-time health minister? Nothing but to hide the data. (Extension of time granted.)

The statement went on to talk about improving access to after-hours primary medical care. We had a half-answer from the health minister at question time. He acknowledged the efforts of Michael Moore in putting the trial in place. The Chief Minister hides behind the notion that the discussion with the Tuggeranong Community Council is about after-hours care. It is not only about after-hours care; it is about the provision of a medical centre in the Lanyon area, which is suffering from a lack of medical services. We were certainly working towards that, and I would urge the minister for health to make sure he does his part as well.

We come to elder abuse in the ACT. I know Mr Cornwell will have a few words to say on that, so I will leave that to him.

The Chief Minister went on to say that within six months, which would be about now, consultations would be under way on the development of a framework for carers. I am sure the Chief Minister will update us on Carers ACT to make sure that we are giving them all the support and recognition they deserve.

The Chief Minister also said:

In the run-up to last October's election, Labor consulted broadly with the community, in part to better understand what was required to improve mental health services in the territory. I have asked my department to review consultation arrangements to ensure consumers and the general community effectively participate in the development of relevant policies and services.

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