Page 148 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 14 December 2016

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MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, are you aware of the reasons that the FOY Group did not receive approval to operate in New South Wales from the New South Wales EPA?

MS FITZHARRIS: No, I am not.

MS LEE: Minister, can you advise whether the government has made any inquiries or asked any questions about the harmfulness or not of emissions arising out of this waste plant?

MS FITZHARRIS: Certainly that is the subject of the environmental impact statement, which is not my responsibility. I understand that submissions for that closed last month.


MR PETTERSSON: I have a question to the Minister for Health. Minister, how will the ACT government meet the growing demands placed upon the health service and ensure that services are provided to Canberrans when and where they need them?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question. Of course the growing demands on our health system and the way in which we meet those demands were subject to considerable debate throughout the recent ACT election, and that is why I feel very privileged to be here today as the Minister for Health. We also knew throughout the election campaign that the community had a strong sense of how fast we are growing—almost 5,000 new people each year—and we need to plan for this growth across all our infrastructure needs.

It is important to this Labor government that we deliver the care when and where people need it. Under our 10-year health plan we are modernising our health services, making sure we can deliver those services when and where they are needed and making sure we have the health infrastructure we need to meet the future health needs of Canberrans. We will continue to invest in health infrastructure and in health services right across our city. We will build new nurse-led walk-in centres and improve access to bulk-billing doctors. The Centenary Hospital for Women and Children will be expanded, and planning will soon get underway to build the new, world-class surgical procedures, interventional radiology and emergency centre, or SPIRE for short, on the Canberra Hospital campus. We recognise that much of the population growth in our city will occur north of the lake, so detailed planning will also commence early in this term to consider future north side hospital facilities.

We also need to make sure we can keep people out of hospital where it is clinically appropriate to do so. The capacity of our hospital in the home program will benefit from the $40.2 million election commitment we made to fund more nurses and doctors and expand into community health centres as well as into people’s homes. This will mean around 3,000 more patients a year can receive health care, while relieving pressure on our hospitals. In response to the growing demands on our health services we are developing a clinical services framework which will set the principal strategic planning tool for future health services.

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