Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4075 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
Purchaser/provider wasn't perfect but it was working towards getting there. To abandon it is a retrograde step.
There are sections in this bill that is to be repealed that I would like to quote. They are sections 5 and 6 of the bill as it exists. They outline the objectives and the functions of the department. Section 5 says:
The objectives of the service are-
(a) to provide health and community care services for residents of the ACT that promote, protect and maintain public health; and
(b) to maintain quality standards of health and community care services; and
(c) to take all measures to ensure the efficient and economic operation of its resources; and
(d) to effectively coordinate the provision of health and community care services.
There is something akin to that in some of the other health bills. But it then goes on to the functions. Section 6 says:
The functions of the service are-
(a) to promote, protect and maintain the health of the residents of the ACT; and
(b) to manage facilities under its control; and
(c) to consult and cooperate with individuals and organisations concerned with the promotion, protection and maintenance of health; and
(d) to provide advice to, and to consult with, the administrative unit on the development of health and community care services; and
(e) to support, encourage and facilitate community involvement in health and community care services; and
(f) to facilitate and provide training and education in the provision of health and community care services; and
(g) to collaborate in, and encourage research into, public health and community care; and
(h) to make available to the public reports, information and advice on public health and the provision of health and community care services; and
(i) to give residents of the surrounding region the health and community care services, that may be necessary or desirable; and
(j) to provide the other health and community care services that the Minister approves.
Well, what are the requirements to replace this when we repeal this act? Mr Speaker, I don't believe they're there. What legislative protections will be in place to guard our health system from a bureaucracy gone berserk? I fear there will be none, and I ask members to vote against this bill.
MS DUNDAS (11.31): I rise to speak in support of this bill. The Australian Democrats have been consistent opponents of legislative and policy change driven solely by competition ideology. Whenever the introduction of a competitive market is proposed, the Democrats ask whether the benefits flowing to the community, and to low income people in particular, will be greater than the costs of change.