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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4414 ..

Mrs Dunne: In a month's time and probably partially answered.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Cross, do you have a supplementary question?

MRS CROSS: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, can you explain the tardiness in your answer? Is it because of your lack of understanding of the health action plan or a reluctance to work on it because the plan was launched by your predecessor?

MR CORBELL: I think that I have answered the first part of the question, Mr Speaker. In relation to the second part, I am sure that Mrs Dunne is quite gleeful in continuing her personal attacks on me, but the bottom line is that this government has launched a comprehensive reform package in relation to health service delivery and health policy in the ACT and the health action plan deals with a whole range of issues which the government is now working to implement.

It is amazing that Mrs Cross would criticise a wide-ranging community consultation process which has led to the evolution of a detailed health policy and criticise the government's preparedness to implement it. Only today I outlined one of the government's key responses to an important issue raised in the health action plan, that is, the issue of continuing the progressing of evidence-based responses to drug problems in our community. I indicated today that, based on a detailed consultation process, the government will move tomorrow at the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy for the introduction of a wide-ranging proposal to trial hydromorphone as an alternative to a heroin trial in the ACT. That is just one example of the government's preparedness to work with the community in introducing evidence-based responses to the health problems that our community faces.

In addition, the government has worked extensively on the key range of other reforms outlined in the health action plan, including the establishment of a new allied health professional adviser, the introduction of a chief nurse for the ACT, $2 million recurrent in relation to elective surgery-

Mrs Cross: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order on relevance. I asked why the minister took eight weeks to answer a question I put to him on 23 September. He has not answered that question. He is avoiding answering it. My point of order is on relevance in relation to the tardiness.

MR SPEAKER: I think that you asked about some other things as well, Mrs Cross.

MR CORBELL: Mrs Cross also asked whether it demonstrated a lack of interest by me in relation to the plan. I am just refuting that assertion, Mr Speaker. The health action plan also outlines the introduction of new policies in relation to community health. The government is moving ahead with important initiatives to reduce the waiting lists for community dental health services. We have introduced new mental health outreach services for Gungahlin and Tuggeranong. We have moved to continue to support youth health services in the ACT. The government has also moved to provide new services in a whole range of other community health settings.

Mrs Cross: It took you eight weeks to answer a question.

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