Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3589 ..
that is, on 4 August—
were still not aware the local primary GP health care service was closing.
Would you please explain to me and my family the rationale behind your organisation’s closure of the Wanniassa Medical Centre?
The constituent goes on to say:
My family has been using the Medical Centre since its inception in 1978 and all our family medical history is with this service.
And so on and so on. There is a grassroots example of the concerns and the experiences which have come about as a consequence of actions for which this government seems to have found little solution.
As we finish off, let me just express what the opposition’s solution is, should we win government. We talk about, of course, the bulk-billing GP clinics in the inner suburbs: three after-hour, bulk-billing GP clinics, with GPs. Notice the rumblings from the other side. Pure jealousy. There is no vision and no planning on that side. Of course, as Zed Seselja, our leader, said:
I don’t think it’s acceptable the ACT remains bottom of the interstate league when it comes to health system performance.
I commend the report.
MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (11.58), in reply: I would like to start by thanking all members for their contributions, such as they were. Let us start with Mrs Burke. I should say that Mrs Burke and others from the opposition appear to be talking about another report, because this report does not say what members of the opposition suggest that it says. Sometime in her speech Mrs Burke said that the closure of the Wanniassa medical centre is a failure of the ACT government—of course, I am paraphrasing Mrs Burke here—and that the minister did not talk to Primary Health Care for over 12 months. It has been a real bugbear of Mrs Burke’s that the minister did not have regular meetings with Primary Health Care. I am a bit surprised that, if Mrs Burke was so concerned to actually put across the points that she has made today, she made no attempt to put them in the report. If she wanted to, she could have put in a dissenting report with those comments, but she did not do that. So Mrs Burke missed that opportunity.
I should point out that this report does not say it is a failure of the minister to take action. In fact, the minister was asked by the committee if she had meetings with Primary Health Care and when the last time was that she had a conversation with them, and she said that she had had a meeting 12 months previous. When Mrs Burke expressed dismay and surprise at that, the minister pointed out that Primary Health Care is not a key stakeholder. The minister has meetings with the key stakeholders—the Division of General Practice and the Australian Medical Association.