Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 7 August 2008) . . Page.. 3079 ..
there’s nothing we can do.” I did not hear them even trying to do anything. The smokescreen of saying, “Well, the opposition have just jumped in now” simply was not true. Two of my colleagues, the members for Brindabella, Mr Steve Pratt and Mr Brendan Smyth, actually attended the rally. So to say that we are just jumping in on this is ridiculous.
My motion asks for an inquiry by the standing committee on health to report by that date. We will hopefully be able to do all that we need to do to report back by the end of this Assembly. We need some answers. We must be able to ensure that health care continues to be easily accessible throughout the ACT. We cannot afford to sit on our hands and just wait, as the health minister seems to want to do. This is a real issue for many in our community, and they want answers from us in the Assembly.
To simply say there is nothing we can do is taking it lying down. It is not even trying to have a go and stand up for the people of the valley. You would know, Mr Deputy Speaker, of the flow of calls that you and Mr Smyth have had. Perhaps Labor members have spoken to those affected as well. I think the government is being frowned upon for its stance in saying that it cannot do anything.
Mr Corbell: What part of “bipartisan” don’t you understand?
MRS BURKE: It is bipartisan, but I am not going to stand here, Mr Corbell, and say that everything is rosy in the garden. I am not like you on that side. This is a robust debate about what we can do together. But, unfortunately, the health minister has been found wanting. If what she is telling me is right, she has not spoken to these people about what their long-term plans are for health in the valley, which seems absolutely incredible to me.
Mr Hargreaves: Bring back Freddy Frapples!
MRS BURKE: I am wondering if Mr Hargreaves may have something to say about that; perhaps he knows more than I do. The number that I have been given is that between 50,000 and 64,000 people will be severely affected. We are talking about people with disabilities; we are talking about people who cannot drive; we are talking about a lousy bus service that gives one bus per hour to get people from Wanniassa to Phillip. Is the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services going to fix up the bus system? We are talking about elderly people; we are talking about a raft of people who are now going to find this so difficult.
I hope that the government and this Assembly can work collectively together to come up with some solutions in a way that the Canberra community expect us to as a legislature. I thank colleagues for their support of this today; I really appreciate that. I commend this motion to the Assembly.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.00): On behalf of the Minister for Health, who is otherwise engaged at the moment with a meeting, I want to indicate the government’s support for this motion. I must say, though, that I need to express my disappointment at the approach adopted by the Liberal Party on this matter. When the Liberal Party first approached the Minister for Health earlier today on this referral, the suggestion was made that it