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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1243 ..

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, when colonoscopies are so vital in the early detection of bowel cancer, why must so many patients wait nearly three months to learn whether or not they have a serious illness?

MS FITZHARRIS: I note, as Mr Milligan said, that 651 patients received treatment within the recommended waiting time. I will take the question on notice and provide further information.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what are the clinical indications that point to a less than 30-day waiting time for a colonoscopy? What is the impact on the community of not receiving the procedure within the clinically approved time?

MS FITZHARRIS: In response to Mrs Dunne’s question, one of the things that I indicated upon first becoming Minister for Health, as I believe all ministers for health do, is that I would not provide clinical advice but I will take clinical advice on her question and provide the answer back to the Assembly.

Australian public service—impact of relocations

MR PETTERSSON: My question is to the Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research. What are the potential impacts on the territory’s higher education, research and training institutions arising from commonwealth agencies moving out of the nation’s capital?

MS FITZHARRIS: I certainly thank Mr Pettersson for his question and the opportunity to reiterate the impact of the commonwealth’s decisions on our community, on residents in our community, on job prospects for our community and notably on the impacts for our higher education, research and training institutions. As members know, our world-class higher education and research sector thrives on close collaboration with a number of partners, including the commonwealth government.

Members have mentioned the impact of relocating the APVMA from Canberra to Barnaby Joyce’s electorate of New England. As members would know, the APVMA is a regulatory authority that draws on specialist expertise to advise the federal government. The Canberra Times correctly stated on 27 December last year that the authority’s most important stakeholders are here in Canberra. Some of those stakeholders are in our higher education sector. Our higher education facilities undertake research into the safe use of new chemicals. The ANU has hosted academics who have published on ways to improve the regulatory regime for the safe use of chemicals on farms.

Having these institutions here working hand in hand with counterpart commonwealth agencies can only improve public policy outcomes. Regulation, like the work the APVMA does, is not just about science; it is about crafting the right laws to ensure that we can properly enforce our regulatory regimes. Here in Canberra we have some of the best regulatory lawyers in Australia.

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