Page 4921 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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page 541 of House of Representatives Practice, fifth edition. It expresses an opinion and says that the cardinal rule is to avoid anticipation of discussion, but that you must take into account whether these matters are going to be brought before the house within a reasonable time. I think it would be unreasonable to stifle debate until next year on this important subject.

Mrs Burke: I will go with your ruling, Mr Speaker.

Emergency Services Authority—internal audit

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister as the minister responsible for the annual reports act and governance generally. Chief Minister, what requirements are there for ACT government agencies to have internal audit committees and internal audit units?

MR STANHOPE: I will take that on notice, Mr Speaker.

MR SESELJA: Chief Minister, why are your governance arrangements so poor that the Emergency Services Authority was without an internal audit function for a whole year?

MR STANHOPE: The supplementary question is based on a false premise. The arrangements are appropriate and workable, and the Auditor-General’s report into those actually indicates that they are appropriate and workable.

SouthCare helicopter service

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for Health. It concerns the SouthCare helicopter.

Minister, it would seem that there is some concern about the current use and location of the helicopter in and out of Canberra hospital, both in regard to its flight pattern over residential areas and the urgency or otherwise of the transport of its patients. In order to have some understanding of the helicopter’s operational guidelines and, in order to influence them constructively, the Garran Community Association has on previous occasions proposed some resident representation on the SouthCare board—but without success.

Given that there are residents adversely affected by the operations of the helicopter, can you advise the Assembly if you are prepared to reconsider resident representation on the board and, if not, why not?

MR CORBELL: I am not responsible for the administration of the SouthCare Aeromedical Service. That is the responsibility of my colleague Mr Hargreaves. I will defer that element of the question to him shortly.

Can I indicate for the record that the SouthCare Aeromedical Service is an absolutely essential service for Canberra and the region. I know that some residents of Garran have concerns about the operation of the helicopter and, yes, it can be noisy. But flights into and out of the hospital are emergencies. I know that SouthCare operates on that basis.

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