Page 3325 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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In respect of proposed paragraph (c), I do not think the government can claim a great deal of credit from the Canberra community for its management of health. I believe the ACT government could have done more to support our local GP workforce.

In the limited time I have left to speak, let me say that there is a complete misunderstanding by Mrs Burke. She said, “There is too much red tape to bring in doctors from overseas.” I have studied this very carefully because I have a friend in the Czech Republic who is an orthopaedic surgeon. I know quite well the rationale. I know the requirement that you have to have gone through the South African, British or Irish systems. It is hard to get in, and the reason is because we do not want to run the risk of poorly trained doctors practising on people in our community. You need to understand that these commonwealth arrangements are there for very good reasons.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (12.07): Mr Speaker, I commend Mrs Burke’s motion and welcome the opportunity to talk about the ACT opposition’s visionary, creative and constructive approach to alleviating medical service concerns in the ACT. I absolutely celebrate the opportunity to take note of and speak about the government’s moribund approach to the administration of health in the ACT.

We heard Ms Gallagher talking earlier in this debate about trust. She asserts that the community cannot trust the Canberra Liberals to deliver on their promise to introduce bulk-billing GP clinics. She is one to talk! This is coming from a government that cannot be trusted to deliver on health or much else for that matter. What about the lying by the government about closing schools? How is that for trust?

What about the Gungahlin Drive extension? It is three years late; it has half the lanes; it is twice the cost. That is great trust. What about the ACT government misleading the community on the power station? They shoved that beneath the radar and misinformed and misled the community. How is that for trust, Mr Speaker?

Ms Gallagher: Mr Speaker, relevance.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The question before the house is that the amendment be agreed to. I don’t know where you got the trust line from but—

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, may I speak to the point of order? It was Ms Gallagher who raised in this debate the question of trust. I think I am entitled to respond to that point made by Ms Gallagher. She set the parameters; I am speaking to them.

MR SPEAKER: Continue.

MR PRATT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The final point I will make on trust at present—although I will indeed return to it—is the misleading of the community about the Tharwa bridge and the absolute waste of time and space on that. The fact of the matter is that these clinics will assist in alleviating some of the burden on our emergency departments. They will alleviate the up-front cost for people attending a privately run health service after hours.

I want to make these points: the government have said that they will provide a series of walk-in clinics. We in fact congratulate the government on at least coming up with

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