Page 2836 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 14 August 2018

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We heard during the estimates process and since with the Chief Health Officer’s report that the rates of sexually-transmitted infections are increasing in the ACT. This could be for a range of reasons but, given the prevalence of the disease, it is important that everyone who is sexually active gets themselves checked as a part of their regular healthcare routine and that they are also able to access the services that they require and products that they require as well.

ACT Health is doing some really important work in this field by offering free services at the sexual health clinic in the Canberra Hospital. But to combat the increasing rates of STIs, I believe we can do more to talk openly about safe sex and sexual health, to improve the affordability of condoms and to encourage more people to access the services at Canberra Hospital.

I hope the government will make sexual health a more obvious priority in future budgets. I am very pleased to see from the report tabled this morning, responding to our recommendations from the estimate’s committee, that consideration will be given to what more we can be doing in this field and, in particular, whether condoms can be made more freely available at the walk-in centres. The government has committed to make the locations of free condoms available online so people know where to go.

As Canberra’s population grows, so do our health needs. Our health system needs to be able to cater to these changing needs. That is why we are taking a proactive approach to investment in health care. We are upgrading our infrastructure and improving access to health care. We are addressing mental health. We are providing accessible and affordable health care to all Canberrans who need it.

The ACT government understands that it is of paramount importance that we invest in health care now. By building new, modern facilities and by considering new approaches to health care, I am proud to be part of a government working to provide the best quality health care that we can for our Canberrans now and into the future.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Health Directorate—Part 1.2

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.07): As has been said in this place before, the opposition no longer has confidence in the minister for health and in her capacity to deliver on health services. It was our view as expressed in this chamber in May and it has not changed. Health culture, as I have said before, is poor and there is poor staff health culture across ACT hospitals, mental health and right across the board. And these are issues which are of the utmost importance to members of the opposition.

I was going to use standing order 47 but I forgot; so I will reflect on the comments made by Mr Rattenbury and his characterisation of the conversation that we had. I do not want this to become a “he said, she said” sort of thing but Mr Rattenbury clearly said to me outside, as we were walking up the stairs, that people in ACT Health did not tell him the stories that we were being told.

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