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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3583 ..

minister. I do not think it washes with those in the public. It is interesting that Primary Health Care now employs perhaps 10 per cent of the GPs in the territory. If the minister is not concerned at that growth then I am disappointed but perhaps not surprised. After seven years in office, what we have seen is a notional shortfall of nearly 60 doctors against the national average. Imagine how many that would be if the ACT Liberal government had not established the medical school here.

There are some 330 doctors in general practice. Of those, Primary Health Care employs a total of 34 general practitioners, just over 10 per cent. They have 14 at Ginninderra, 17 at Phillip and three at Kippax family practice. That is a disturbing trend, particularly in our electorate—the area that has been denuded of general practices and general practitioners by Primary Health Care. Surely there is some concern by the minister as she has watched this over the last seven years. First Kambah goes, then Monash goes, then Wanniassa goes, and they are all moved into Phillip. Without wanting to get into an argument on business practice, surely that alone concerns the government. I note that there is a section here about all the things the government is purported to have done, but they have not been very effective in the long run, as we have seen.

Ms Gallagher: You’d know, would you?

MR SMYTH: Yes, I do know. If they were effective, where are the GPs? Where are the clinics that are opening? Where are the people that are going to take on the work as the ageing workforce continues to move to a situation where they retire? We have seen them retiring, and there is no-one to fill the holes they have created. I note on page 8 of the report that it is noted that the community centre in Tuggeranong has worked as a community transport program. We have this transfer back to the community of services. (Time expired.)

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.34): A lot of people want to talk on this issue, which is fabulous. It is great that so many people are concerned about the provision of primary health care. I just want to reiterate—all I have read are the recommendations, but I suppose that is the nub of the report—that it is of concern that the ACT government really does not seem to see much of a role for itself, or the committee did not see much of a role by the ACT government, in facilitating the provision of primary health services in our city.

I want to preface my remarks with a reminder to the Liberal Party that it was the Carnell government that closed much of our very rich primary health infrastructure. We were well provided for by the National Capital Authority, as it was then, in the development of the so-called ideal city that Canberra was supposed to be, where social amenities, as well as physical amenities, were considered. What is a pity is the fact that this report did not take into account some of the evidence that the committee heard. I have not read the discussion there. Perhaps the West Belconnen Health Cooperative could have been considered as a recommendation. Perhaps consideration could have been given to ways that that model could be rolled out across Canberra.

It is not going to be easy, and I am not saying you are going to do it in a year. But perhaps we should have a vision that is developed in a regional sense as to what kinds

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