Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 7 August 2008) . . Page.. 3086 ..
added pressure of the discussion here tonight and the referral to that committee will add perhaps some weight to the community’s concern in the Wanniassa area.
I am very pleased to see that Annette Ellis and Joy Burch were there at the community meeting to get the ball rolling with the media, and I understand Mrs Burke was there as well. So it is very important that this committee start their work as soon as possible, and I look forward to the results of their inquiry.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (5.24): I want to congratulate Mrs Burke for bringing this motion on and I want to make a couple of quick points. I do not need to repeat everything that has been said here. There have been some very good arguments made. The first point is that Wanniassa, the area served by this particular practice when it was alive, has a slightly older demographic. Therefore, the medical needs in this particular area are a little sharper than they might be in other areas.
Of course, Mr Smyth talked earlier about a very important issue: the absorbing of the Monash and eastern Kambah clinics into the Wanniassa practice as well. The point there is that the Monash and the east Kambah areas are also demographically a little older than some of the others, so the medical needs of those areas were pretty significant. Suddenly we have this swathe of territory across the north-west Tuggeranong Valley running from Monash to east Kambah where you have got a significantly older demographic now who may have to trudge off to Phillip or relocate to perhaps a very crowded practice at Erindale and to other practices which are also packed to capacity as well.
This is the situation we have. There is clearly a strong community and health administrative need for a clinic somewhere in that area close to Wanniassa shops. Clearly, nobody thought about that. At least if there was a concern, why did not the practitioners of this particular practice talk to somebody before they moved? I bet there was not any warning. I bet there was not any discussion between the owners of this practice and the government or anybody else in authority.
Mr Smyth and I were down there when the community met at 9 am on Tuesday. We spent a fair amount of time there. We talked at length to a hell of a lot of people who were there. What seemed to come across quite informally is that most of those people had no idea before late last week that this was going to occur. Where was the courtesy on the part of the practice to at least mail its clients to give them some sort of warning? These people are telling me that they did not receive any mail-out. If there was a mail-out and it has gone astray, I am prepared to be corrected. But the information I get is that there was little warning at all. I find that really disturbing and I am quite critical of the people who run this particular practice.
To echo the call made by a couple of my colleagues, this is clearly a profits-before-people circumstance. This is a callous business decision where little concern was expressed about the people that they were leaving behind except to say, I suppose, “Well, at least you can move 4.8 kilometres up the road to Phillip. Come along. Follow us up there. But you have got no bloody say in the matter. You have got no choice.” Where was the spirit? When these business decisions are being made, why cannot people who are making what they seem to believe are strict business decisions also go to some effort to communicate with their community, to communicate with