Page 4453 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 14 October 2009

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MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, are you responsible for competition policy?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, Mr Speaker.

Health services—access to transport

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Health and relates to the move of a number of disability services to Kambah. In answer to my last question without notice on this subject, minister, you said that no services would be moved until all issues had been addressed. Minister, could you please advise the Assembly as to whether ACT Health have yet been able to ensure all transport accessibility problems have been addressed?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the member for the question. I think this is an ongoing process, Ms Bresnan. The issues as they arise are being dealt with one by one. There is some concern around the bus stop and how far it is from the entrance to the former primary school, where we hope to set up an aged care and rehab service in Kambah, and connecting that with bus timetables. A lot of work has been done on analysing, across all of the service areas that would move to Kambah, people’s method of transport to their appointments. As I understand it, in excess of 90 per cent of people attending appointments, whether it be at the hospital or at Weston, attend through private car, but there are a number who attend through community transport and then a small percentage who arrive through bus or taxi.

I know that staff from ACT Health have been out responding to some recent concerns that were expressed as late as last week around distances and accessibility through the main entrance. As I said, I have given a commitment that this is around attempting to make things easier for people rather than making it harder. So we are working to address every single one of those issues as we work through this process.

In relation to some of the staff concerns—I understand that there are a few staff that are still unhappy—I think that, for staff in the public sector, it does involve changing location from time to time as to where you go, and staff will be required to move to where the work is. But I am very sympathetic to the arguments of the consumers who use that service around accessibility, so we are looking at it very closely indeed and attempting to resolve matters. I still think we can resolve them to everybody’s satisfaction. Indeed, the distance from the bus stop to the Kambah site, as I understand it, is less than the distance from the Weston bus stop to the Weston site. So we are looking at everything very closely.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary question?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, when do you intend to open the new facility, and will you obtain the consent of disability-related organisations for the move prior to it occurring?

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