Page 522 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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committee certainly has done a lot of work. Ultimately, there will probably need to be assistance given by both local and federal governments.

The committee is really to be commended for its work so far. It has looked at models, which may not involve very much assistance, if any, from government. The Victorian model, for example, may have a few problems, but it was a case of people in a community doing it themselves. Certainly that community has a much bigger population, 180,000, but that is one model that the committee is actively looking at. The committee meets at least once a month and I have been very impressed by the work they have done to date. Mary, I also thank your partner, Ian, for his efforts in raising some initial money from his club, the Labor Club. That $1,000 has been very helpful in getting the committee going. Hopefully, some more money will be raised from various organisations over the next months to assist the work of the committee.

I do not know—perhaps no-one can, because there are all sorts of models that could be applicable—how this is going to pan out, but certainly what we hope to see is some type of centre with doctors and medical staff to look after the people of north-west Belconnen. Many of them do not have access to a car or have great difficulty getting out of the area to see medical staff. Many of them are elderly, single or have various problems that are not that common in other parts of Canberra. In the last several years they have suffered as a result of doctors ceasing to practise, for whatever reason. I congratulate the Charnwood community health committee on its endeavours so far to establish a community health centre for Charnwood. I look forward to that happening in the near future. With the dedicated people on that committee, I am sure that it will be sooner rather than later. The opposition is happy to support the motion by Ms Porter.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.20): Mr Speaker, I commend Ms Porter for moving this motion today. I add my congratulations to hers and those of Mr Stefaniak on the excellent work of the Charnwood community health committee. As Ms Porter said, they are working in a self-help way. They have not sat on their hands and said, “Here is a problem, somebody go and solve it for us.” They have taken a proactive approach, involving many sections of the community and I think that, through that involvement of the community, they will actually achieve a good outcome for the Charnwood community.

It is humbling, really. I was at the meeting in September last year when the group was formed and I think I said at the time to many of the people there that I had never been to a more productive, cooperative community meeting with such a spirit of getting on with the job and doing something. Often we go to community meetings and there is a fair amount of carping and whinging. There was none of that. There were people there who recognised a problem and they were going to do something about it. The committee is a great model for other people in the community to build social capital in the community. The government has done none of this. It was individuals in the community who saw that there was a problem.

The members of the committee, the movers and shakers, should be commended. We should also commend the excellent work done by the Charnwood pharmacist, Mr Brian Frith, and also the Demarco family, who have gone to great lengths to attempt to attract a GP to their shopping centre—and not for any commercial gain. They are prepared to forgo rent because they see that it is important to the community as a whole.

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