Page 2345 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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the outcome of a professional and reasonable examination of the issues around access to pharmacy services in the ACT.

Pharmacy services are essential in our community. We want to make sure that those services are as widely available as possible, particularly after hours, but not in a way that compromises quality of service and delivery to the Canberra community. It is entirely reasonable that the government undertake an investigation into the adequacy of the existing arrangements. This does not in any way signal that the government has a pre-determined position on any issue to do with pharmacy services.

I can give this Assembly an ironclad assurance that the government does not have any pre-determined position or outcome anticipated regarding this study. We will take this study at its face value and decide whether there is a need to change arrangements to ensure that we have as wide a range of pharmacy services available to the Canberra community. It is that simple. The only people who seem to be concerned about even questioning the availability of pharmacy services here in the ACT are the Liberal Party and, it would seem with some regret, the Pharmacy Guild.

Department of Urban Services

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, the Department of Urban Services advertised last Saturday in the Canberra Times two new senior executive positions—Director Strategic Finance and Director Strategic Human Resources—with a combined package value of $324,000 per annum. These two senior executive positions are in addition to the 15 senior executives listed on the directory and in addition to the extant manager of human resources and the director of finance. Minister, why are you recruiting extra senior executives while at the same time cutting jobs from Canberra Connect shopfronts and other service delivery areas?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Let me put the record straight, just for openers. I am not cutting anything from Canberra Connect. Mr Pratt is out there frightening people. He should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. Mr Pratt should be aware of the power of his position as a member of this place and should be a bit cautious about putting information out in the public arena that is blatantly false and serves nothing but to upset and frighten people. There has been no statement from me in this House that I am going to cut Canberra Connect—in fact, far from it. If Mr Pratt were to listen occasionally, and then make up his mind and make a comment, somebody out there may listen to him. That is not a guarantee, but somebody may listen to him.

Mr Pratt would have heard me say in this place that the restructure of the Department of Urban Services is about removing about 13 silos and introducing two streams. He would have heard me say that there was going to be a reduction in management, in administration, in the purchaser/provider model and the staffing that emanates from that. The reduction in staff from the Department of Urban Services starts at the top, and it has started from the top. Mr Pratt promptly takes some piece of information out in the ether, puts a number two on it, adds his own little piece of fright, adds another two to it, adds the two together and, instead of getting four, gets about six or eight. He has got it wrong yet again, Mr Speaker. Mr Pratt ought to apologise to those people in Canberra Connect. You, sir, have frightened them. You, sir, have unduly frightened them, and you should be ashamed of yourself. You should be thoroughly, through you, Mr Speaker—

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