Page 1521 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 7 May 2008

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meeting the needs of our community, and that is why we are looking at the concept of walk-in centres—to enable those families who are experiencing financial stress who cannot get to a GP and who do not have other choices to have somewhere to go to seek medical assistance if they need to.

This is a visionary plan. It is in stark contrast to those opposite who have been largely silent on health for the last six or seven years. I put the challenge to them—

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: This is the reality. This is not going to change. This is not Labor Party figures. This is what our community needs in order to grasp the challenge of the future. This is the most significant issue facing this community and we—this Assembly—need to stand up and support the plan as it is outlined, accept the reality of the situation we find ourselves in and endorse a major reconfiguration and change to the way our public systems work. I expect that we will be met with silence and sniping from those opposite who are unable to accept the reality and offer solutions for those challenges that this community faces.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Budget—participatory budgeting

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Dr Foskey, Mr Gentleman, Ms MacDonald and Ms Porter proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, the Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Dr Foskey be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The benefits of participatory budgeting.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (3.47): It is quite fitting that in the week where the government presents its budget this topic comes up for discussion. Of course, I am totally astounded that I have had an MPI pulled out of the fireman’s hat at all, although when I found out that all the Liberal submissions were not allowed, I understood that my odds were better than they are usually. Nonetheless, it does appear that fate is on my side.

I would be very interested to hear what other members have to say on this topic given that I believe that I am one of the first parliamentarians to travel to Brazil to do some research into this area. What I learned is that the language barrier is so enormous that it is probably one of the reasons why we here in Australia, as with other western countries, only hear about initiatives that are developed primarily in English-speaking countries. I want to acknowledge first up that I am the first person on study leave who has had access to funds for an interpreter, and I thank the Remuneration Tribunal for recognising that my research would have been absolutely useless without an interpreter. Three days of meetings where the people involved just smiled at each other and nodded would not have resulted in a particularly useful report from me.

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