Page 2563 - Week 07 - Thursday, 18 June 2009

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

In closing, I put on the record my thanks to the broader ACT community for their willingness to work with us on this very important public health management exercise. This has been unfolding for the last six weeks and, to date, we have had enormous levels of support and acceptance of advice coming from the health authorities. This is going to be a long flu season. We will be dealing not only with seasonal influenza but with an additional strain of flu. The fact that we have so many cases so early in our flu season means that the next several months until October are going to be incredibly busy for anybody who works in the health area.

I also put on the record my thanks to the ACT public service for their response to date. This has been whole of government, including agencies such as the department of education, the Chief Minister’s Department, and Justice and Community Safety, who have all been working closely with the ACT government’s lead agency—ACT Health—on our response to this pandemic.

In relation to ACT Health, I would like to acknowledge the efforts right from the top, from the Chief Executive of ACT Health to the Chief Health Officer and, indeed, the Acting Chief Health Officer—so Dr Charles Guest and Dr Eddie O’Brien—and also their team and officers from the Health Protection Service out there in Holder where the incident room is located, and it has been staffed for the last six weeks. Extraordinary effort has gone into protecting the ACT community. It is behind the scenes; not that many people see it, but members can imagine the amount of work that has gone into contact tracing, disseminating information, getting the influenza assessment centres, working with the Division of General Practice to make sure that general practitioners are equipped to deal with the increase in demand that they are seeing, the running of public information campaigns, and the willingness of the Chief Health Officer, in particular, to give regular and frequent public updates on H1N1 and its impact on the ACT.

It has been an extraordinary effort to date. They have been six long weeks, with many people working very long hours. It is going to continue for some time. This is going to be a marathon response from the ACT public service and, to date, I think they have done an incredible job. I would just like to put that on the table, acknowledge their efforts today and thank them on behalf of the government and, if I can, on behalf of the Assembly—although I do not dare speak on behalf of the Assembly and I will allow other members to do that. I think our response to date has been very solid, but we have got a long way to go.

MR HANSON (Molonglo), by leave: Minister, thank you very much for the statement you just made. I will get to it a bit later on, but I echo your sentiments fully and I certainly express the opposition’s full support. There has been some commentary in the media about the appropriateness of some of the government’s actions that have been taken. I would like to express for the record that the opposition supports the measures that the government has taken and the approach it has taken and will continue to do so. The government can certainly rely on the opposition’s continued support in this matter. I would like to thank the minister for the information provided to me by her staff as this matter has proceeded, and I ask that we continue to be informed. Obviously the minister’s speech is part of that process.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .