Page 2035 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 7 June 2017

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Let me simply conclude by thanking Ms Cody for bringing this motion forward today. I am pleased to see that the focus of our thinking on health is broadening beyond the acute sector. We all know the importance of the acute sector for those moments of emergency and crisis, and we cannot thank it enough that it is there. But investing in primary and preventative care is also vitally important for the long-term health and wellbeing of our community. The Greens believe in health as a fundamental human right, and we are pleased to see these investments which will help make healthcare services more accessible for Canberrans no matter where they live or what their circumstances.

MS CODY (Murrumbidgee) (5.17): Thank you to everyone for their kind words today. This was a very important motion for me. It has taken all my energy to be here today to bring it on and to be able to read it into the record. It is something that I am extremely interested in. Health is something that affects all of us, and the health, and wellbeing, of our community is one of the most important facts for me.

I used the speech to speak about some of my experiences in the healthcare system, because I have had very positive, caring and wonderful experiences in the healthcare system, like comments in many letters that Minister Fitzharris has received. I would also like to thank Minister Rattenbury for talking about the preventative side of health care. Prevention is a very important side of health care. As I spoke about earlier, we cannot begin to be the healthy and active community we are without some of those preventative programs.

I note that park and pedal that I launched earlier this year is one such initiative that is allowing Canberrans to cycle part of the way to and from work. I think it is a fabulous initiative, and something that we probably should all look at trying, some of the different, active travel options that the government is working on.

I would also like to reinforce the $1.6 billion investment that we are making in health in this year’s ACT budget. It is about a ten-year health plan, and that is something that cannot be lost in today’s society. We are talking about a long-term vision for our health system to support our community.

It is also important, as Mr Rattenbury has noted, to deliver health where we need it and when we need it. The walk-in centres are a perfect and prime example of that fact. I do not want to take up too much more time because I know that we will have a very late afternoon already, and there are many more motions to bring forward today. However, I want to also add that the mental health initiatives and the $23.8 million to support the mental health of our community is something that is also very dear to my heart, and I am looking forward to seeing that delivered across the board.

Finally I would like to say, as someone who is petrified of dentists, the additional two vans that we are bringing on later this year to help support those less fortunate and the children in some of the lower socio-economic areas of our society are really important assets to people. Our teeth are very important. I am not sure exactly how many people realise how much damage and ill health is done often because our teeth are not up to scratch.

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