Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2170 ..
community organisation wants to do and is asking the people that it elects to help it do is to provide the capital, the seed money, for a project that should be given a chance to succeed so that the people in my electorate, the poorest people in my electorate, can have an opportunity to go to a doctor when they need to go to a doctor rather than go to Calvary when they are sick.
I had an instance in my family recently where one of my children had to be taken to Calvary hospital because she broke a toe. It is painful and it is a pain in the neck and there is only one thing you can do: you have to go and have it X-rayed, you have to have it reset and you have to sit around—and you just suck it in and you deal with it. But I turned up with my daughter at half past seven at night and we went home at half past 11 or 12 o’clock, and all the time that we were there there was another family with a very young child. It seemed to me that these young parents had come home from work and picked their young child up from after-school care, because he still had his school uniform on, and he was obviously unwell. I know where they lived: they lived in Charnwood, and there are no doctors out there. So on a Monday night, after the parents had spent all day at work and they were tired and the child was tired, they had a sick child, and there was only place that they could take him and that was Calvary hospital.
Perhaps they could have gone to the CALMS centre but that would have cost $110 and I suspect they did not have $110. The family eventually went in and saw someone and then went home very quickly. My 13-year-old daughter watched this child for most of the night and she said to me, “Mum, they waited an awfully long time and they didn’t take up very much time when they were there. Why did they wait so long?” And I said, “Really, I suspect that they had nowhere else to go.” Those people should not have had to wait until half past 11 to have their small child seen by a doctor.
If there had been a health cooperative and wellness centre in Charnwood—if this minister would loosen the grips on the coffers to the tune of $200,000 out of a $700 million budget—children like that would not have to sit at Calvary hospital and take up space at Calvary hospital when they could see a GP and be attended to. The family could have gone home, had dinner and gone to bed at a reasonable hour so that the parents were ready to get up and do it all the next day: go to work, get that child to school, pick him up from after-school care and hope that he is well the next day. That is what the west Belconnen health cooperative would do if this government would allow itself to put another $200,000 towards that program.
My constituents and your constituents, Mr Speaker, have worked long and hard in a completely bipartisan way and have come to both parties and said, “What can you do for us?” We have said what we will do for them. But the minister sits there and says, “I’m not going to put any more money to it because I will not fund private doctors.” But it is not about funding private doctors; it is about funding your constituents, the people who voted you into this job to look after their health services, to ensure that they have health services. They have given you the solution. They have done the work. They need you to write the cheque.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (10.43): I will take a little time to discuss this line of the budget. I understand that, after this, there is going to be an adjournment till