Page 2257 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 August 2017

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I would note that I have not confirmed whether there are vacancies at Bimberi. However, I would note that in a lot of public service areas there is an ongoing recruitment process. So I will take that question on notice.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, what impact have the ongoing problems at Bimberi had on the recruitment of staff?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you Mrs Kikkert for your supplementary question. The directorate has recently been conducting a recruitment round for new youth workers at Bimberi Youth Justice Centre. My understanding is that we have a tranche of workers who have either just started or are due to start. But I will take the question on notice in terms of that timing.

Health—nurse-led walk-in centres

MS CODY: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, can you explain to the Assembly why the government has committed to provide more walk-in centres?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Ms Cody very much for her question. I am delighted to explain to the Assembly exactly why the government has committed to provide more walk-in centres for the Canberra community. They provide easy access to affordable health services in our community. That is exactly why we have begun planning and funding the expansion of the nurse walk-in centres as part of the 2017-18 budget, just as we said we would do at the 2016 election.

We will deliver three new walk-in centres to add to those that already exist in Tuggeranong and Belconnen. We will begin with Gungahlin then the Weston Creek region and then plan for aligning the work we already have underway on the city health centre with an inner north walk-in centre. With strong population growth right across our city, and especially in each of these regions, there is a need to increase access to timely health care in these areas.

The establishment of these new walk-in centres will provide people with increased options for accessing health care for less serious conditions closer to their homes. It will complement existing health services and especially provide access to out-of-hours and weekend primary health care.

Labor governments are renowned for their commitment to affordable health care for all, and I am pleased to remind members that health care provided at our walk-in centres is, indeed, provided at no cost. Expanding the network of walk-in centres across Canberra further supports affordable health care and ensures there are no financial barriers to accessing this type of care.

I take this opportunity to remind members of the Liberals’ track record on health care: slashing hundreds of millions of dollars from state and territory health budgets in the now infamous Hockey budget; establishing a failed GP copayment providing little relief to GPs on the MBS freeze; of course last year’s disastrous pretend hospitals

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