Page 3042 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 14 August 2013

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Mr Wall: On a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker, I ask that you request the member to refer to you by your proper title whilst you are sitting in that chair.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you for the reminder. Ms Burch, I suggest that you do that. I am not quite sure how relevant the repetition you are talking about is to the current motion you are addressing.

MS BURCH: Mr Assistant Speaker, repetition was something that was highlighted through the Leader of the Opposition’s contribution to the debate. (Time expired.)

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.18): I welcome the opportunity to speak on this very important topic and thank my colleague Dr Bourke for raising it. I was very surprised when I learnt the opposition was not going to support this budget. This budget has focused on building a stronger economy, creating jobs, opportunity and fairness for all Canberrans and delivers on important social reforms. As I have said in this place on several occasions, I am proud to be part of this Labor government which has, and always will, put our community first and continues to look after those who are most vulnerable. I draw members’ attention to some aspects of this budget that will benefit residents in my electorate.

I and all of those on this side of the house believe we have a great health system and we understand the need to continually invest in health to allow greater access by all Canberrans. That is why this budget has appropriated $45.5 million for an additional 31 inpatient beds across the Canberra and Calvary hospitals to meet increasing demand, and six hospital in the home places—so important. Fifteen of these beds will be at Calvary hospital in Ginninderra and will comprise 11 general inpatient beds and a four-bed designated stroke unit.

Further to this, there is a $12 million provision to expand access to emergency medicine and rapid assessment services at our public hospitals, from which Calvary Public Hospital, in my electorate, will establish a new eight-bed rapid assessment unit to improve access to specialist services.

Mr Assistant Speaker, this government in this budget is investing $8.3 million to complete planning and forward design of the new University of Canberra public hospital and, as you know, when completed, this will mean access to an extra 200 beds for the people of the ACT, and particularly my Ginninderra constituents. There is a further $9 million allocation in this budget for the expansion of the new Belconnen health centre, which will provide greater access to more high quality services, including, and importantly, a nurse-led walk-in centre, breast screening, aged care, rehabilitation services and community mental health services. All of these initiatives provide for the needs of our health system in the future and will ensure that Canberrans, and indeed my Ginninderra constituents, get access to the quality healthcare services they need and deserve.

As has been stated on numerous occasions in this place, this Labor government recognises the diverse opportunities that quality education presents to our children and young people and over the years has endeavoured to ensure that all ACT children,

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