Page 3223 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 19 August 2008

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But we have not stopped there. Of course, decisions for the future in health need to be made now, which is why the government has made such a significant commitment to public health infrastructure and services in the 2008-09 budget. This investment includes a down payment this year of $300 million in infrastructure as part of a complete redevelopment of our health facilities, which, over time, is likely to exceed $1 billion. We announced as part of that policy a new community health centre in Gungahlin—another key piece of infrastructure for the people of Gungahlin, and another example of us providing services where they are needed.

The government has identified a block of land for this health service. The site is at section 18, Gungahlin, which fronts onto Anthony Rolfe Avenue and Ernest Cavanagh Street and is very close to the child and family centre—an excellent location for that facility. ACT Health will work with local stakeholders as we move forward on the construction of the Gungahlin health centre. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

We have also seen in recent months 87 new medical practitioners come and work in our public health system. That is 40 to replace people who are leaving but an additional 47 in new areas of specialty. And we are actually attracting people here. I was talking with a doctor recently who is coming up from Melbourne but who I think was based at the University of California before that and who is specifically moving to Canberra because of the ANU Medical School, the research opportunities and the fact that the government has put on the table a 10-year plan and commitment around how to build up the health system of the future. This is unheard of in other places around the country—a 10-year plan which we can start and then meet the demands we are going to see within that time frame. In health, you are often playing catch-up; you have not been able to prepare for the demand. This plan makes sure that we will be able to meet that demand when the health tsunami hits this city in about 2018.

We have more students in the ANU Medical School wanting to work in the ACT than we were able to arrange allocation for through the IMET process. That is the first time in the history of this city that we have graduates wanting to stay and work in the ACT. That is unprecedented.

Mrs Burke: You shouldn’t brag; you’re about 14 down this year and last year.

MS GALLAGHER: Mrs Burke does not understand about IMET allocations, so she is going on with a load of rubbish over there. The way IMET works, Mrs Burke, is that we get an allocation, and we have had to get that allocation because we have not had our graduates. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter?

MS PORTER: Thank you. Minister, are you aware of community responses to these announcements?

MS GALLAGHER: The students who are wanting to come and work here is a fantastic result and one which we have embraced wholeheartedly. As I said, I have

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