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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 1351 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

changed in order to accommodate any changed patterns of use and if you aware of whether users are again resorting to sharing and reusing needles?

MR STANHOPE: I fear, Ms Tucker, that I do not have up-to-date information on needle availability or needle distribution specifically. I think it would be best if I took the question on notice. I regret that.

I am aware of concern within the sector at the continuing increase in the rate of hepatitis C infection in the ACT, particularly in some parts of the community. After the last discussion I had with representatives of Winnunga Nimmityjah, I believe there is a real concern within the indigenous community at the level of hepatitis C infection and the fact that it is continuing to trend up. But I regret that I am not up to date with the distribution of needles around Canberra, and it would be best if I received a detailed brief for you on those issues.

I know from recent discussions with the AIDS Action Council that there are continuing concerns about the availability of insurance. I am pleased that the department of health was able to assist the AIDS Action Council in overcoming that, although the premium has increased significantly. There was a grave fear some weeks ago about the capacity of the AIDS Action Council to continue with its distribution. That follows on from the inability of a previous provider to gain insurance.

So, I am aware of some pressures, but I do not have up-to-date information. I will obtain it for you.

MS TUCKER: Thank you. Could you also take on notice, since you cannot answer it right now, whether there has there been any tightening up of the availability of needles through community providers-I am also interested to know if the reason for that is insurance related-and whether there has there been a growing emphasis on cost recovery in supplying needles through pharmacies?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, I will take that on notice, Ms Tucker. I am sorry about that. As I say, I am aware, through discussions with Daniel Coase, about the issues the AIDS Action Council faced. They were certainly insurance based. The department of health managed to negotiate its way through that, but at some cost.

I am not aware, generally, of the tightening up, and I am not aware of increased cost recovery. I am a little bit out of the loop, but I will get the information.

Horse Park Drive

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Wood. Minister, in a press release issued on 31 May 2003 you stated:

It is planned that Horse Park Drive will eventually be a major dual carriageway road in Gungahlin.

Can you please explain what timeframe you envisage when you state that this road will eventually be a major dual carriageway, and can you confirm whether the $10.4 million allocated to the project will initially make the road two lanes or one lane each way?

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