Page 1552 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 31 March 2009

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doctors from ACT Health into the general practices as a way to encourage them to consider a career in general practice.

The ACT government is also currently undertaking a scoping study to investigate the establishment of nurse-led walk-in centres for the ACT, to improve access for patients who require treatment for episodic, non-ongoing minor illnesses and injuries. It is intended that the walk-in centres will be fully integrated with existing services and will support and connect with activities and service provision of GP and other health providers, and that piece of work is almost complete.

In addition, the ACT has been successful in lobbying the Australian government and a local GP training provider to increase the number of GP training places in the ACT. The ACT government, through the election campaign, have pledged $12 million over four years to support and grow the ACT general practice workforce. The GP package will provide: annual scholarships for years 3 and 4 medical students and graduates who commit to undertaking training and returning to work in the region; $300 per day GP teaching payments for Canberra GPs to provide teaching and training opportunities for ANU Medical School trainees; an ACT GP development fund to provide a biannual grants pool of $1 million a year for one-off payments to practices that establish initiatives that attract staff or that foster the establishment of new services; a new in-hours locum medical service to support GPs in the care of residents of aged-care facilities; and a GP placement program for four junior doctors, building upon the current pilot project of rotating junior medical doctors through GP practices, which is extremely popular with those practices that are being involved.

These initiatives are aimed at increasing access to general practitioners for all community members, wherever they live and whatever their health or disability status. By increasing the numbers of GPs practising in the ACT, by improving the range of primary care medical services available and by ensuring our general practice workforce are supported in the work they do, ACT residents will enjoy better access to primary health care when and where they need it.

I thank the committee for its close examination of the closure of the Wanniassa medical centre and the complex issues that surround it. The findings of this review will inform ACT government policy, including the GP task force and further initiatives, as we continue to work to provide the ACT community with an excellent primary medical system.

Lowland native grassland investigation

Paper and statement by minister

Debate resumed from 26 March 2009, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.15): I wanted to rise to speak briefly to this report today. I thank the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment for putting forward this report, a report that my predecessor, Dr Foskey, spoke about at some considerable length. The delivery of this report is a valuable tool for both this

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