Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4024 ..



I urge all members to support this amended motion and I urge the government to look at this issue as soon as possible and respond to the Assembly in a way that enables members to make sensible decisions to protect this valued community asset.

Mr Speaker, I just add to my speech that there is a mute button in front of every member's desk. If members are going to speak among themselves, they should press it so that we do not have to listen to three conversations at once.


(3.33): Mr Speaker, I support Mrs Cross and congratulate her for bringing on this motion this afternoon. I really do think that she has done something very worthwhile and I hope that the government will listen to and take heed of the proposal of Mrs Cross. From the perspective of my portfolio responsibilities as the shadow Minister for Disability Services, Housing and Community Care, it would be an extremely detrimental step to have pharmacy services established in supermarkets. I could not think of anything more cold, quite frankly.

Earlier this year I had an opportunity to work with the federal Department of Health and Ageing in relation to an excellent community service in the home medicines review under the domiciliary medication management program. It is an excellent federal government initiative whereby local pharmacies are part of a scheme that involves the patient, their GP and their local pharmacist. If we do not make a stand against a giant multinational like Woolworths going down this path, initiatives such as the home medicines review program would simply collapse and many carers and patients alike would suffer as a consequence. Further, if this action were allowed to proceed, it would show that in this instance, as a society, we are putting big business over the very real and human needs of people.

In fact, I would suggest that each of us in this place, and those listening, would most certainly be affected. I am, for one, most concerned that I would lose that very personal approach from my local pharmacist. People need people. As much as we like to think we can do it through machines or automation or just grab something off a shelf and run, society today needs to get back to the place where we have that human contact. People who are sick do not need something off a shelf. They need another human being to talk with and bounce ideas off. It would be an extremely depersonalising exercise and a path we should not go down.

Together with many other people in our community, I depend upon the excellent advice I often receive from my local pharmacist. We cannot afford to lose this very important aspect of our community. So many other things are eroding our everyday life at the moment. Let's try to hold on to those things that we do count as dear and very important.

I urge the government to do all within its power to prevent Woolworths from pursuing their interest in this area. There are currently, in one capacity or another, some 700 people directly involved in employment at any one time in our pharmacies in the ACT. Our pharmacies offer many career pathways-from retail to nursing, to community care. We cannot afford to lose our local pharmacies at the expense of a cold and impersonal service, let alone the number of jobs that may end up being lost as a result of going down that path.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .