Page 3314 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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Tuggeranong Community Council had to react to the decision to close the Wanniassa medical centre. So why not involve community members at some stage—it is up to the government to work out the best way of doing that—and create a regional health plan for Tuggeranong, Gungahlin and Belconnen?

While we rely on the market to locate our medical services, we will not have convenience for people who live in those areas. We will just have convenience for the people who make the funds. As we know with what occurred with the Wanniassa health centre, they are not located in Canberra and they do not really care. So we need to have a way in which communities can determine the location and the type of services that are available.

We have moved a long way in the globalisation of medical services. It has not been good, I believe, for consumers. What we see now even affects doctors, who are moving around the world to countries which offer the best incomes and the best conditions. It is not necessarily good. The developed and wealthier countries will always benefit from those sorts of practices. I would like to see us intervening in a bigger way and having more than the ACT in mind, because we can only benefit from having a really good national health system. We also need to look at the impact of health at a global level. I suppose it is good that we are having the debate. It would frustrate me if we did not move further with it.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.36): I am very pleased that the minister used the word “trust”. She said, “The public just don’t trust you.” That will be proved one way or the other on 18 October, but what I do know, because I am out there at the shopping centres and out there doorknocking and talking to people and trying to gauge what the public are doing—

Ms Gallagher: You aren’t the only one.

MR SMYTH: Yes, we have noticed you have finally turned up and done some shopping centres, minister. But when you talk about trust, there is a fundamental issue here that comes up in everybody’s mind—that is, school closures. This minister said before the last election there would be no school closures.

Ms MacDonald: Relevance, relevance?

MR SMYTH: You jump so quickly, don’t you? You are just embarrassed.

MR SPEAKER: You should remain relevant.

MR SMYTH: Well, the minister brought trust into it in addressing her amendment, and I am addressing it by addressing her statement about trust. If she is embarrassed by the implicit lack of trust in the government to keep their promises on schools or two lanes each way for the GDE or the Gungahlin pool or Tharwa Drive or pro-business jurisdiction or low taxes, she should be. I would be embarrassed, too. I am surprised she brought trust up in regard to this. If you were actually out there, minister, talking to the people about what they want, you would know that what they want is GPs in their suburbs. Where there are no GPs in a particular suburb, that is where we would look to see GPs go, and that is where we would look to set up these clinics because—

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