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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 166 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

If there are other specific issues in relation to this that you wish to pursue, Mrs Burke, I would be more than happy to provide you with further information. We are certainly very aware, in this market of high demand, that we must identify where shortages may be, and we must identify any exploitative conduct.

MRS BURKE: I thank the Chief Minister for his succinct answer. I have just a little addition to that. Does the policy therefore extend to protection from government instrumentalities, including such things as schools?

MR STANHOPE: I am not sure I fully understand the question, Mrs Burke. Would you expand on it a bit, please?

MRS BURKE: As well as the issues in our community to which you have alluded and about which you have provided some answers for me, which is excellent, I think there are other areas into which we may have to look more deeply, including tradespeople, particularly in regard to buildings and other facilities being used. Does the policy that we have cover and protect people from unscrupulous practice with regard to rental and that sort of thing?

MR STANHOPE: I do not know at this stage, especially about the rents that people are paying for accommodation. I will have to take advice on a couple of those issues specifically, Mrs Burke, and see whether we are taking broader steps or actions than the ones I outlined. I am more than happy to look at some of the specifics and get back to you.

Health ministers meeting

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, the Commonwealth Minister for Health and Ageing, Kay Patterson, has today announced that she will no longer be attending the Commonwealth-state health ministers meeting on Friday, called to discuss the next Australian Health Care Agreement. Can you detail for the Assembly your response to this announcement and indicate whether you will be attending Friday's meeting?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms MacDonald for the question. Yes, I will be attending the meeting on Friday as, I understand, will almost all, if not all of, my state and territory colleagues. The reason we will be attending is twofold. First of all, Kay Patterson asked us to attend-and she called the meeting. The second reason, of course, is that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss an issue of significance for many people in the community-that is funding arrangements for health care in every state and territory around the country.

It is with a high degree of disappointment that I note that Senator Patterson has decided not to go to the meeting which she convened. However, we have to ask why she has chosen not to attend. It is fairly clear to me that she has chosen not to attend because, after 12 months of asking the states and territories to put their agendas on the table-to outline the requirements and issues we want to see addressed through the next Australian Health Care Agreement, and the states and territories having done that, she has no answers and no policy responses.

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