Page 725 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 26 February 2013
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.
MS PORTER: Minister, is it not true that the West Belconnen Health Co-op has had no difficulty attracting GPs to its practices in the Ginninderra electorate?
MS GALLAGHER: The west Belconnen co-op have done very well, and we have been very pleased to provide quite a lot of support to that practice and that model in order to allow them to undertake the recruitment work that they have sought to do. As I said, the models of general practice that are going to become more prevalent are the ones like the west Belconnen co-op where you are wrapping other services around the provision of primary care, and that is where a family GP practice faces challenges compared to some of the more medium to large corporate models.
But the GP landscape has changed considerably in the last three years or so, whether Mr Hanson likes to accept it or not. Yes, there will be closures, just like there are closures in other areas of the private sector, for a whole range of reasons. You also have to acknowledge that in the last 18 months there have been more openings of general practice and more doctors coming to town to work than there have been closings. It would not be so bad if you were able to acknowledge that as well.
MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Treasurer. Can the minister advise what are the key decisions recommended in the draft report released today by the ICRC?
MR BARR: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. Members would be aware that the ICRC has released a draft report determining water and waste water prices for the period from 1 July 2013. I am sure members are also aware that prices for water and sewerage are regulated by the ICRC, the independent regulator, which, of course, operates at arm’s length from government. The ICRC bases its findings on efficient costs of providing water and sewerage services to the territory.
The report proposes changes to the variable charges for water and also to the fixed sewerage charges. I think it is important to say, and this has certainly been the case in the media commentary to date, that there is recognition that this is a draft report, that there will be the opportunity to comment, and that the ICRC’s final determination may vary from what has been published today.
However, I believe the commission has made a number of very important recommendations, including rejecting the proposed revenue catch-up in the coming pricing period, to spread the costs of major water security projects over a greater period so that that burden falls not only on the current generation of Canberrans but also on future Canberrans. The commission has also recommended retaining the current two-tier pricing structure and to adopt a more conservative water consumption forecast.
The government will, of course, examine these recommendations in detail in the coming weeks and months. It is particularly pertinent to note that the ICRC proposes