Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 August 2008) . . Page.. 3307 ..
what will the health minister do? She will just lobby the commonwealth, she told estimates, for more money. But we know that more money is not enough. Even Mr Stanhope has said the situation is not about money; it is healthcare professionals we need.
That is why the Liberal opposition with our policy are offering a range of incentives for attracting GPs to the ACT. We are putting real solutions on the table. We are offering 60 grants of $75,000 each to attract GPs from interstate. We will ensure that medical graduates who want to stay in Canberra are able to. We will assist new Canberra doctors to establish their first practice. We will do positive things to assist and aid anybody who wants to come to Canberra to work, to remain here.
Of course, the health minister is doing what really seems to be her major work in the portfolio—bagging us. She has absolutely nothing positive to say at all. Now we are being told by the third in line of the hopeless Stanhope health ministers who presided over the slide of our public health system over the past few years that it cannot be done—let us find the negatives; let us find the problems. Let us not work at a solution. No, that is all in the too-hard basket.
She says that other doctors will be jealous and we cannot have bulk-billing in our government clinics. They can waste money across the whole area of government and suddenly find that they have an extra $100 million in the kitty. But they tell us that whatever we propose will drive the ACT into deficit. What a joke. It is all “can’t” or “won’t” from this government. It is arrogant and out of touch and we are asking the people of Canberra to be judges as to who offers the best hope of improving and managing both the access to and the quality of our public health system in the ACT.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (11.11): I thank the Assembly for the opportunity to speak to this motion today. The government will be supporting this motion with an amendment which I have circulated and which I now move:
Omit all words after “notes” in paragraph (1), substitute:
“(a) the hard work of our primary health care industry, particularly our community GPs who continue to provide first-class health care despite workforce shortage;
(b) the responsibility of the Commonwealth to ensure adequate primary health care services are provided in our community;
(c) the efforts of the ACT Government to support our local GP workforce;
(d) the ACT Government’s $1 billion, ten year plan, to overhaul the public health system; and
(e) the complexity of the health care system and the need to provide responsible, realistic and achievable solutions; and