Page 338 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2012

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So we took a different decision. We are clearing the long-wait list. Our long-wait list has come down by 36 per cent, and now we are seeing the median wait time reduce. But the median wait time, even when we get to the national average, which I am confident we will, is not the best measure of the performance of the elective surgery system. The best measure is people getting access to their surgery on time and more surgery being performed. We have over 11,000 operations being done this year. We expect that to increase, and the median wait time will continue to drop.

Australian Multicultural Council—membership

MS BRESNAN: My question is to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and concerns the Australian Multicultural Council. As you know, the council does not have any representatives from the ACT. Minister, you told the Assembly on 17 November last year that you had written to the federal Minister for Immigration and Citizenship to seek ACT membership on the council but that this request was rejected. You said that you “will continue to prosecute the case”. Minister, can you please tell the Assembly what you have done to continue prosecuting the case to ensure that the ACT has membership on the council?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Bresnan for the question. I have certainly spoken with the parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs on this and raised that it is our strong desire to have a representative on that council. I have also asked officials to continue that conversation. There is a ministerial meeting coming up in the not so distant future; I will raise it there again.

That aside, this is an opportunity to recognise that Sam Wong has been made a multicultural ambassador, the only one from the ACT. That is a good start. It is not a position on the council, as you referenced, Ms Bresnan, but it is a work in progress.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: My question is in relation to the ambassadors. Minister, are you prosecuting the case for more ACT representatives to the council through the people of Australia ambassadors, of which the ACT, as you have already said, has only one ambassador and every other state and territory has at least two?

MS BURCH: Following the success of our National Multicultural Festival, where we clearly showed the nation how we do celebrate our multicultural diversity, please be assured that I take opportunities to promote that, either through the officials, through the ministerial councils or through the parl sec. I have not yet had a direct conversation with Sam Wong, but I am sure it will not be too long in coming, about using his position as an ambassador to again advocate for more recognition for the fabulous work that we do.

MS LE COUTEUR: Supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.

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