Page 2467 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 29 June 2005

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and collaborative approach. That is something that will be very important in the government’s response. So I thank Dr Foskey for moving this motion. I now move:

Omit all words after “That this Assembly”, substitute:

“(1) notes the work undertaken by the Standing Committee on Health of the 5th Assembly in its report on Maternity Services in the ACT; and

(2) further notes that the Minister for Health will table the Government response to this report in the August sittings.”.

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (4.25): Dr Foskey is quite right: I, too, have circulated an amendment. I think it might be helpful for members to see an audit trail of what has happened in regard to this report. I seek to amend Dr Foskey’s original motion by calling on the health minister to table the government’s response to A pregnant pause: the future for maternity services in the ACT of April 2004 on the first sitting day in August

The series of events today has been quite extraordinary. I tabled my amendment. The government then tabled its amendment. I then went on to amend the government’s amendment. Later in the day the Greens came up with their amendment. This was after I had sought advice and pointed out the anomalies contained in the wording of their original motion. For the public record, I would like to mention that, as one of the three members of the committee of the Fifth Assembly, I am extremely concerned that there has been no response as this committee began this important work on 7 August 2003—2003, minister—and its report was tabled in May 2004. Let me remind the minister of his words on 17 March. He said:

Mr Speaker, it is the convention that governments normally respond within three months of a report being handed down.

As we can see, the government’s usual time to respond of three months came and went. On 17 March 2005, I asked the health minister a question on notice in relation to when we might see the response. The minister responded, “In due course.” What is “in due course”, I wonder? Three months later, still no response. Mr Corbell, the health minister, stated the obvious in many of his comments, but there is still no sign of the government response to the months of work by the former health committee.

The health minister said, “The government has not finished its response yet.” Shame! This minister has now had some 12 months to respond. I believe it would be inappropriate for any of us to be adopting or agreeing to all 20 recommendations until the government makes its own position quite clear. Members of this Assembly would be in a much better position to debate this matter if they knew what recommendations the government has found to be acceptable and workable in practical terms.

It is extremely disappointing that we are forced to waste valuable time continuing to debate this matter. The government could, and should, have made public its response to the report. We could have been well on the way with the process of implementing the recommendations put forward by the committee. Let us not forget that we had some 24 submissions. These people now have been waiting nearly two years, or just about two years, for some outcome, some action, minister, action! Actions speak louder than words.

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