Page 692 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

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MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Mr Hargreaves was commenting on some comments that Mrs Burke made in relation to the former minister and I think it was really a debating point, rather than a reflection on another member.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I will conclude by saying that this government has done many things to change the culture. It recognises for once that there are an enormous number of people out there who are yet to receive support. We will do that over time as we increase the quality and the quantity of services delivered to these people over and above the zero amount of compassion that they got in former regimes. I commend this report to the Assembly and invite the Assembly to study further reports into future directions in the ACT. That will make compelling reading for Mrs Burke, who clearly knows absolutely zero about what goes on within the disability community in this town.

Mrs Burke: When was the last time you spoke to a parent?


Question resolved in the affirmative.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Ms MacDonald) agreed to:

That leave of absence be given to Mr Quinlan (Treasurer) from 8 March to 10 March 2005 inclusive.

Optometrists Legislation Amendment Bill 2004

Debate resumed from 9 December 2004, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (11.49): The purpose of this bill is to amend the Optometrists Act 1956 and various related legislation to allow optometrists in the ACT to prescribe a limited range of medicines for treatment and to update the legislation to reflect that optometrists routinely use medicines for diagnosis during their consultations. Currently, if a client sees an optometrist complaining of an eye infection or if, during a consultation, an eye infection is discovered, the optometrist can only provide a referral to an ophthalmologist for treatment. Any optometrist wishing to be able to prescribe medications will need to be approved by the Optometrists Board of the ACT. Optometrists with a drug authority will still be restricted to a cycloplegic substance, a local anaesthetic, a mydriatic substance, a miotic substance or a substance prescribed by regulation for diagnostic purposes.

The bill also allows optometrists to use certain medicines for diagnostic purposes. Clients stand to be big winners, as they will no longer have to wait for hours to see an ophthalmologist and pay the enormous fees associated with seeing a specialist for

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