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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1933 ..

Immunisation rates

MS DUNDAS: My question is for the Minister for Health. It was reported today that the ACT has the lowest rate of immunisation in Australia for children aged between three months and six years. Considering that immunisation does have health benefits, what is the Minister for Health doing to educate Canberra parents about the benefits of immunisation, and to make immunisation more convenient and accessible for parents?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Ms Dundas. I did see that report, Ms Dundas, and I have to say that, frankly, I was surprised to see it. I do need to chase up the basis on which that particular conclusion was drawn, because it does fly in the face of my understanding of the success of immunisation programs in the ACT. I think it is interesting, and certainly it is very worrying. I do not have the detail of how that statistic was determined. I do need to discover that. I regret that I do not have the information available, so I will get back to you with all the details of our immunisation programs.

However, I agree with you that, on the basis of the raw numbers printed in that explanation of immunisation rates, it really is quite worrying, unless there is some other explanation. I have to confess that, when I read it, I assumed that there was some other explanation. I will get back to you on that.

MS DUNDAS: Considering that you actually think the statistics may be a bit misleading, when you have more information, will you be willing to set a target date for achieving a child immunisation rate in the ACT that brings us into line with the national average?

MR STANHOPE: Certainly. I think it is a very important issue that you have raised. I will get all of the information. However, I have to say that my understanding of immunisation practices and rates here in the ACT was, indeed, that we were among the leading jurisdictions in the nation. That is why I say that that brief report that I saw really did take me by surprise. If I had been asked to hazard a guess at where we rated nationally in relation to immunisation rates, I would have said "first".

That is why I am very surprised by what I read, and that is why I had initially thought that there must be some explanation related to the methodology. I need to be better briefed on it. When I am better briefed, I will certainly provide you with a full answer. I do not think that it is appropriate that I pre-empt the receipt of that information by making other undertakings.

Capital works funding

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, my question regarding capital works funding is to the Treasurer. Mr Quinlan, the former Liberal government allocated around $200 million towards capital works for this financial year. On 11 April, you stated that, in your opinion, this amount was unsustainable and that about $100 million would be more appropriate. Do you accept the construction industry's rule of thumb that every million dollars in capital works funding is roughly equivalent to 30 jobs; and, if not, what figure do you accept?

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