Page 2221 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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well qualified to make these comments. So in that regard, I think to elevate the status of midwifery is a very good thing.

The second set of changes relates to the implementation of the bill. These are transitional amendments. The commencement date of the act is postponed from 8 July 2005 until 8 July 2006. This extension will avoid any overlap with respect to repeal before new legislation comes into operation. Sections 22 (4) and 37 (7) should allow greater flexibility for people to access the provisions of the schedules before they commence. People should be aware of their responsibility in respect of the schedules under which they act. According to the minister, this will facilitate a seamless transition and, of course, that would be what we all seek.

It is interesting that under the Health Professionals Amendment Regulation 2004 (No 1), the government received advice from the medical board that raised a number of concerns about to whom the act applies, and we seek clarification of this in the amendments. The final point, of course, relates to veterinary surgeons. I think it is a good thing that standards will be guaranteed for animals that many people love the most—their pet mog or their pet dog.

I do have some concerns, and some concerns have been raised with me, about what effect these amendments may have on, for instance, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. I would like a guarantee from the minister that these amendments will not lessen the scrutiny that this Assembly will have over changes that might be put in place by the government following the review by Allen Consulting of the pharmacy sector. The minister might also like to clarify whether or not it is true that the people who were doing the report for the government into the pharmacy sector were actually the same people who did the report that backed Woolworths’ case to be allowed to deliver pharmacy. It would be interesting to know if that is the truth.

What we would also like to hear from the government is whether or not they support the continuation of the current structure of community pharmacy in the ACT. I think the minister was a bit ambivalent in the estimates hearings, so it would be nice to hear his support for the current structure of community pharmacy in the territory, particularly given that we had debates about this last year, and I am sure everyone remembers the 45,000-name petition in support of the sector. I would call on the minister to guarantee that no regulations be made altering the manner in which community pharmacy is to be provided until there has been a full parliamentary debate in this place, so that we get full and appropriate scrutiny.

That having been said, Mr Speaker, in the main the provisions seem reasonable. We will be supporting the bill.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.10): I support the Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2005 and commend the ACT government on implementing these changes, as called for by health professionals. Of course, the speech I am now giving was written before the second raft of amendments was circulated. However, these amendments seem to be minor and are possibly in response to concerns of the medical board. I am interested in why we are putting out new amendments now, and what happened between the drafting of the original amendments and these amendments. However, anything that enables us to

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