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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 September 2015) . . Page.. 3120 ..

modern and contemporary facility. So, once again, this government is making an investment that not only provides for a good built environment but also improves access to care. That is the approach the government has continued to adopt when it comes to our health infrastructure program.

We have also focused on making sure we have great options available for people when it comes to primary care, particularly the walk-in centres. The walk-in centres are incredibly popular. People welcome the fact they can get the care they need for minor ailments through the walk-in centre, often when it is hard to find a GP or where the only other choice would be to go to the emergency department and, because they are low acuity matters, they would be categorised at a lower level of priority.

Finally, I want to focus on a very important project that is underway right now, and that is the expansion of the emergency department at the Canberra Hospital. As Ms Fitzharris highlighted, the emergency department continues to see a significant increase in growth in presentations. We need to improve the capacity of the department. We also need to reorganise it so that it is contemporary, modern, welcoming and more efficient in its layout so that more people can get the care that they need.

This government is investing $23 million in an expansion of the emergency department. That will increase bed capacity by over 30 per cent in the ED. It will provide for a contemporary and modern mental health assessment unit. Again, that is very important for people who present with high levels of acuity with mental health conditions at the ED. For the first time it will provide for a purpose-built paediatric streaming capability so that we keep young sick kids managed and treated separately from adults. I think that is a great outcome for young kids. That is a great outcome for their parents and that is the sort of commitment this government brings to health in our city.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.44): I welcome the opportunity to speak on the ACT government’s health infrastructure program, and I thank my colleague Ms Fitzharris for moving the motion. It gives me the opportunity to discuss the health infrastructure programs and services this government is undertaking as we continue to prioritise and improve the world-class health system we have in the ACT, particularly post the short-sighted health funding cuts by the federal Liberal government. It also gives me the opportunity to highlight some of the programs and services being implemented in my Ginninderra electorate.

Madam Assistant Speaker, as you know, I spent most of my career as a registered nurse working in remote communities of the Northern Territory. My experiences over this period place me in a good position to fully understand the critical role a good healthcare system plays in any community, in this case the ACT and region.

As you know, the ACT government’s vision for Canberra has been and will always remain that of a vibrant, livable city that continues to grow and change to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future, and to continue to live up to its reputation as Australia’s most livable city. That is why this government developed the health infrastructure program in response to the growing population of Canberra and

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