Page 3047 - Week 08 - Thursday, 7 August 2008

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Mrs Burke: Sorry, Mr Speaker, I need to repeat the question: Minister, what steps have you taken to ensure that this practice stays operating?

MS GALLAGHER: The practice will not stay operating; that is what I am explaining. The practice will close. There is absolutely nothing I can do. And there is nothing you can do Mrs Burke. The practice will close. Primary Health Care have made a decision. Mr Bateman will not change his mind. He has a business in Phillip and he has made a decision about that. We have all heard the comments of Mr Bateman this week around that.

There are three things I can do. I can work with the federal government, continue to lobby them for more GPs to go into training, or extend the incentive programs operating in parts of Canberra right across the ACT. That is what we want. In years to come, there will be an oversupply of junior doctors. There will be more doctors than there are positions available in our hospitals. We need to encourage those junior doctors to go into general practice.

Mrs Burke: That is not for now.

MS GALLAGHER: I know that is not now. If there were something we could do now, that would be fantastic. This is a longer-term solution that cuts right across local or state and territory governments and the federal government. These are the things in train now. But they will not help the people of Wanniassa tomorrow.

There is nothing I can do to stop that decision. What I can do is ensure that I am doing everything I can to make sure that I can deliver what the ACT government can offer in terms of primary health care in relation to the walk-in centres. I can lobby the federal government. I can express my disappointment to Primary Health Care about the relocation of their practice to Phillip.

Mrs Burke: Have you done that yet?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, I have done that. They are the things I can do. If you have anything you can add, or if you think you can overturn this decision or keep this practice operating, if you think you can go out to the people of Wanniassa and say, “Don’t worry, we’ll be able to keep this practice operating,” I will be very interested to hear about it. It is not politically comfortable. But the reality is that none of us in this place can stop this decision being taken.

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


Mr Speaker presented the following paper:

Auditor-General Act—Auditor-General’s Report No 4/2008—Maintenance of Public Housing, dated 7 August 2008.

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