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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 7 June 2017) . . Page.. 2008 ..

MS LAWDER: Minister, has the construction of light rail ever led to unexpected interruptions to the electricity or telecommunications supply to residents of Canberra?

MS FITZHARRIS: As I know the opposition are aware, there was an outage to an NBN cable recently, regarding electricity supply. I am not aware of any at this point.

MS LEE: Minister, how many times has construction work along the light rail corridor, either directly for the tram’s construction or for the associated relocation of services along the route, led to interruption of the electricity or telecommunication supply to houses and businesses in Canberra?

MS FITZHARRIS: In terms of unplanned outages, there was the one I referred to regarding NBN. I do not believe that any unplanned electricity outages were as the result of the construction of light rail.

Canberra Hospital—dermatology services

MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Health. Why are skin cancer and other patients forced to seek treatment interstate due to long waits to see a dermatologist in Canberra?

MS FITZHARRIS: They are not forced to. Many Canberrans seek treatment from local dermatologists. If Mrs Kikkert could provide more specific examples I would be happy to answer that question.

MRS KIKKERT: What is the average waiting time to see a dermatologist in Canberra, and by how much have waiting times increased over the past five years?

MS FITZHARRIS: To clarify for the opposition, access to specialist services are provided through both the public system and the private system. So if Mrs Kikkert could be a little bit clearer in her questions, I may be able to provide a clearer answer.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, how long has ACT Health known that there is a shortage or predicted shortage of dermatologists in Canberra and what specific action, if any, has been taken to address the issue?

MS FITZHARRIS: I am assuming the opposition are referring to comments made by the royal college of dermatologists in a recent story. Certainly I have become aware more recently that, with the age profile of the current dermatology workforce in the public health system, a number of dermatologists will be retiring in the next few years. I have previously spoken with Dr Miller about his concerns about his own impending retirement and how he really wishes to make sure his profession is able to practise here in Canberra.

As we know, right across the country in a number of specialist services there are shortages. We have a number of specific measures that we will take in order to address some of those shortages. I will take the specifics of dermatology on notice and provide a further answer to the Assembly.

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