Page 247 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

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another ACT government program where a lead worker streamlines and focuses government services across directorates to deliver comprehensive and holistic outcomes for these particularly vulnerable families.

I say that these comprehensive holistic approaches that will be applied at the University of Canberra public hospital to helping people are at the heart of classic Indigenous social theory, an approach which is exemplified by Aboriginal medical services, which have been providing holistic and comprehensive services for more than 40 years across Australia. It is an environment where I began my working life more than 30 years ago and it is an approach which I believe will be of tremendous benefit to those in need in our territory.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (11.14): I rise in support of the health minister’s statement on investing in the ACT’s health system. This government is focused on the economic and social renewal of the territory. Keeping our community healthy is, indeed, an essential component of the government’s renewal agenda. In the shadow of massive funding cuts by the Liberal government at the federal level, which impact on state and territory health systems across the country, and the Liberal government’s repeated attempts to tax visits to local GPs, smart and coordinated investment by the ACT government in the community’s health assumes even greater importance now.

The 2014-15 federal budget indicated that funding from the commonwealth to the ACT for public hospital services would be approximately $240 million less than expected by the territory over the next four years. Just think, Madam Deputy Speaker, about what that $240 million in lost funding could have done for health outcomes for the people of the ACT and the fact that the Liberal opposition locally—particularly its leader, Mr Hanson—has stood by quietly during the drama and the farce of the federal government’s health cuts and their tax attempts. It makes our task all the more stark.

Of course, the ACT Labor government is building on a strong track record in health. The Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, the Canberra Region Cancer Centre, the new adult mental health unit, the Tuggeranong and Belconnen walk-in centres, the community health centres in Gungahlin, Belconnen and Tuggeranong and a range of strategic investments in equipment and information technology are all to improve the capability of our health system to continue to provide world-class health care.

As Minister Corbell has set out, in a growing community and with an ageing regional population there is always more to do with finite resources. This is why the government is committed to working in partnership with the University of Canberra for the University of Canberra public hospital.

The Belconnen community and, indeed, the broader Canberra community need another hospital, and building it will create jobs. Building it at the University of Canberra creates growth opportunities for the university, turning it into a nation-leading health and learning hub. It makes it even more attractive for prospective students and researchers, an investment that will serve both our health sector and our education sector for decades to come.

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