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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 7 June 2017) . . Page.. 2032 ..

The ACT government is also making sure that more vulnerable groups in our community are properly cared for. The budget invests heavily in health care for women and children, and there will be a major expansion of the hospital in the home program. This program especially benefits older Canberrans who may not be able to make the trip to their local hospital.

The territory will benefit from two new mobile dental clinics to service vulnerable communities and schools and the employment of more graduate nurses for front-line health care. A $23.8 million mental health package has also been announced and it will provide extra support to pregnant women, new mothers, children, adolescents and older people in particular.

Of course, prevention is the best cure. We know that an active and healthy lifestyle can fortify our immune systems, improve our wellbeing and protect us from injury and ailments later in life. In yesterday’s budget a host of preventative health measures were announced. I am particularly excited about new investment in active travel corridors in my electorate. The budget commits money to the Belconnen bikeway, which will connect the Belconnen town centre with UC, Radford College, CIT Bruce and the GIO stadium as well as our neighbouring suburbs. This bikeway will make our town centre a more cycle friendly, active and healthy place to live and work.

The government has also announced that the age friendly suburbs program will be expanded to more suburbs, including Page in my electorate. This program will see $1.5 million invested in walkway infrastructure such as footpaths, crossings and traffic islands, with that investment being shared with Hughes. These improvements will help everyone to get around and in particular will assist the elderly in getting out and staying active.

The ACT government has proven its commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community. The budget announcement yesterday shows that the government is serious about its 10-year health plan and the government will continue to provide the highest quality health care for our diverse and growing community. I thank Ms Cody for bringing forward this motion today.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (5.09): I rise to give my support to the amended motion and to reaffirm the ACT Greens’ commitment to an effective, accessible and affordable healthcare system for all Canberrans. The Greens share the view of the World Health Organisation that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. We know that preventative health care is the most effective way to improve health outcomes, as well as reducing healthcare costs over time.

That is why the Greens believe that an effective health system must be based on strong primary and preventative healthcare services, as well as investing in health promotion, disease prevention and early intervention initiatives. We are committed to reducing barriers to access to care wherever possible and want to see people interact with health services before they become unwell.

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