Page 5438 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2011

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MS BURCH: The Women’s Legal Centre is an excellent organisation that helps more than 1,000 women a year. The ACT government values the work that it does.

As the Attorney-General informed members in the last sitting, the government has provided some assistance to services located in Havelock House, which includes the Women’s Legal Centre, in the form of renovations and fit-out. And the Justice and Community Safety Directorate, I am told, is examining what other assistance might be given to improve communication. The details of their accommodation really sit with the directorate of justice.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary.

MR SMYTH: Minister, what discussions have you had with the Attorney-General about the inability of the Women’s Legal Centre to meet the needs of vulnerable women in our community? If none, why? Otherwise, what were the outcomes of those discussions?

MS BURCH: I have regular conversations with my colleagues across a range of matters, particularly in supporting Canberra women. I also note a motion by you, Mr Speaker, agreed to by the Assembly in the last sitting. And the attorney is examining the feasibility of the establishment of a legal services hub in the ACT; this report will come to the Assembly in March. What I can say about vulnerable women in our community is that they would be much better off under the ACT Labor government than they would ever be under a Canberra Liberal government.

Canberra Hospital—obstetrics unit

MR HANSON: On 24 February, the Minister for Health said in the Assembly:

However, there has been a long and troubled history in obstetrics in the ACT. It has gone on for far too long. The obstetrics community have not dealt with it across private and public well. My hope out of all of this, out of the damage that has been done, particularly to the Canberra Hospital, is that the war that has existed in obstetrics for in excess of 10 years …

She then claimed that the war was over. Minister, what action have you taken to satisfy yourself that the 10-year war in obstetrics is in fact over, and why has it taken the government so long to fix the problem, given its impact on Canberra’s women?

MS BURCH: I am pleased to advise that the government has set in place an ongoing strategy to address problems faced by the obstetrics department at the Canberra Hospital. The Minister for Health—who does have the detail of this, you would appreciate, I am sure, Mr Hanson—commissioned a review into the service delivery clinical outcomes at the public maternity units in the ACT which was undertaken in April last year.

The review found there was evidence that the clinical outcomes at both public maternity services are consistent with comparable hospitals in other Australian and New Zealand cities. However, the review did make some recommendations. The review into the public maternity service steering committee was established and meets

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