Page 186 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012

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Belconnen enhanced community health centre being able to provide more acute type care within the community-based setting. So this is work that has started. We have invested $650 million towards the health infrastructure program. We have also made some commitments around the next four years, and those include things like walk-in centres, the University of Canberra Public Hospital, the birth centre car park and new wards and facilities to house the additional beds.

The major projects currently underway include the community health centres, the women’s and children’s hospital stage 2 and the cancer centre. These will significantly improve the facilities available to patients. Indeed the surveyors on the accreditation visit that I talked about in the adjournment debate last night visited the new facilities that are across the health system, including the community health centre in Gungahlin and the new services at Canberra Hospital, and the view of the surveyors, who do this as part of their careers, was that the facilities available to people in Canberra were, in their words, simply stunning.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Chief Minister, how will the collaborations you are pursuing between education and health benefit the health system over the next four years?

MS GALLAGHER: A very important part of our election commitments was the link between health and education and the capacity to support education through the investments that we are making in the health system. Obviously the University of Canberra public hospital is a real partnership which will cement the University of Canberra as a regional health university of excellence. Not only will it create bed capacity for subacute care; it will also ensure that the University of Canberra is able to market itself as a hospital university. It will be able to market that overseas to students. It will be able to train many of our new health professionals and provide a pool of graduates to work across the health system. And it will be able to foster research within the ACT, which is all very much in line with our desire to grow the education side of our economy.

With the partnerships that we have put in place with ANU, if they make provision for some extra funding to go into cancer research at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, we would agree to fund a centenary chair in cancer research at the ANU. Again, the potential of that is to bring a world-leading expert in cancer right here to the ANU, who would then have access to our regional cancer centre. The fact is that it provides services to the region, to the patients coming in there and, importantly, for our clinicians, our junior clinicians, it provides access to potentially a world-leading researcher, to be part of that world-leading research.

We think these are sensible, modest investments that we have to do anyway in terms of the University of Canberra public hospital. Providing that connection with the university will bring a lot of benefit to the local economy, to the university and to the health system as a whole.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

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