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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 133 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Where are they? How long are we going to wait for these after-hours clinics that Labor thought was the answer to all the problems in the lead-up to the election but that now they won't fund, trial or establish? What hope have we, at the bottom of Tuggeranong, of seeing the follow-up promise "Labor will consider the outcomes and perceptions of these trials, and address any problems arising"? Minister, perhaps in your speech you will tell us what the outcomes and perceptions of the trial were and how you addressed the problems arising.

I return to the previous quote, from Rebuilding the ACT health service:

Labor will look at whether there is need to extend this initiative to providing after-hours GP clinics also in the southern suburbs of Tuggeranong and in Gungahlin.

Mr Hargreaves, have you asked your minister to honour your party's promise to get us a clinic in southern Tuggeranong? I think the answer is no. I think we all know that. These things are never going to happen. Why? Because the government is not committed to it. They were good words in the lead-up to the election and, as a solution to the problem, they may work. But there is yet to be an attempt to even see if they will work.

Where is the review? What has been done? Has any work been done to extend the after-hours GP clinics to the people of Tuggeranong? We know that the people of Gungahlin are having an impact on the emergency services at Calvary Hospital. How do we know that? It is in the government's press release from this year's budget. They know that there is an expected 7 per cent growth in the calls for services for accident and emergency at Calvary, and that is appropriate.

As places like Gungahlin grow, their residents will go to the closest hospital when they need emergency assistance. That is appropriate. The government put only a small amount of money into that system-nowhere near the 7 per cent that was needed-which caused Calvary no end of problems. They are carrying the burden because the government is shifting it to them because it has not honoured its promise. We need the government to honour its promise to do the follow-up work, to do the assessment, to fine tune it and to make it work-because it said it could.

"We will address any problems arising."Where is that addressing happening? Where is that answer, and where is that response? Mute. We hear nothing. The silence is deafening. This is an important issue. Getting the balance right between what the Commonwealth pays for and what the territories and/or the states pay for is important.

We should not be allowing the Commonwealth to cost shift. That is a serious complaint, which the states and the territories always make. I can remember addressing this as a federal member accusing the states and territories of cost shifting. So it is a two-way street. But we have to get it right, and I urge all the parties to get around the table and negotiate.

As to the motion itself, point 3 is superfluous. The final paragraph, noting the concerns and welcoming the actions of the ACT government, does not mention the GP clinics that they promised. So, I have some amendments that I seek leave to move.

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