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Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Page: 10339


Ms KING (3:39 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing. How are the government’s plans for GP superclinics progressing and what is the community’s response?


Ms ROXON (Minister for Health and Ageing) —I thank the member for Ballarat for her question. There has been some particularly good news in Ballarat which I will come to in a moment, but the most recent government announcement for the newest GP superclinic was in Gunnedah in New South Wales, bringing the total number of superclinics funded by the Rudd government to 36. As the member for Parkes has welcomed, funding of $4.3 million will now go towards the construction of a new facility, the Gunnedah Rural Health Centre, on the grounds of the hospital. The announcement has been met with delight by the local community, including, as I acknowledged, the member for Parkes. He called it ‘a great day for the people of Gunnedah, an exciting model and a long-held dream’.

I welcome those comments and welcome the recognition from some of those opposite that the GP superclinic strategy is delivering and will deliver to local communities. I just wonder whether the shadow minister for health is changing his view and will now support the superclinic strategy. It is a little bit difficult to tell when we do not know what his health policy is or whether he actually cares about the superclinic in his electorate. He did not bother to turn up to the sod turning for the Strathpine superclinic in Dickson. It must have been that he already knew he was moving to McPherson at that time.

Let me come back to the member for Ballarat because I was delighted last month to join her and officially open the first fully operational GP superclinic in Ballan. For this superclinic, which is really something worth this House taking note of, $1.4 million was provided by the government but the remaining $0.9 million that made up this $2.3 million project was actually raised by funds from the community. I think we should congratulate the community of Ballan for their contribution. The service is going to provide GPs, practice nurses, visiting specialists, allied health services, chronic disease management and—I think of interest to all in this House—for the first time in Ballan, a dental service. For the first time ever, a dentist will be working in Ballan, in the superclinic, courtesy of this funding arrangement.

Twenty-six GP superclinic contracts are now signed. In addition to the one in Ballan, five other services are providing interim services. For example I can advise, and I know the member for Dobell has particularly welcomed this, that the Warnervale clinic has started to provide GP services last week for the first time at its interim site. Podiatry, a diabetes educator, an exercise physiologist and pharmacy services are expected to start soon. Given that the member for Dickson was not prepared to turn up to the sod turning for his superclinic in Strathpine, I presume he will not be around for the ribbon-cutting ceremony because, of course, he checked out of Dickson months ago.


Mr Ciobo —When will there be one on the Gold Coast?


Ms ROXON —Interestingly, a member for the Gold Coast is asking when there will be a superclinic on the Gold Coast.


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, I have a point of order.


The SPEAKER —Order! Has the minister concluded?


Ms ROXON —The shadow minister was trying to move to the Gold Coast, but he was rejected in McPherson. He is not wanted in Wright. He cannot decide if he is going to run in Dickson.


The SPEAKER —Order! The minister will resume her seat. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order.


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, the point of order is obviously on relevance. The minister was asked about GP superclinics and is straying very far from the subject.


The SPEAKER —I understand the member’s point of order, but the minister had managed to get herself back on track at the time that you jumped. The minister will respond to the question.


Ms ROXON —I am responding to the part of the question which deals with the community’s response. One might expect that the shadow health minister might have a view about GP superclinics, not just as the national spokesperson for the Liberal Party but as a local member who has a GP superclinic being constructed in his electorate. He was not prepared to turn up to the opening ceremony and has not had any interest in the many jobs that are being provided on site. I did notice, though, that he declared the day after the McPherson preselection that he would not give up—


The SPEAKER —The minister will resume her seat. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?

Mr PYNE (Sturt) [3:44 PM] —I move:

That the member be no longer heard.

Question put.

53AYES

Abbott, A.J.

Andrews, K.J.

Bailey, F.E.

Billson, B.F.

Bishop, B.K.

Bishop, J.I.

Briggs, J.E.

Broadbent, R.

Chester, D.

Ciobo, S.M.

Coulton, M.

Dutton, P.C.

Farmer, P.F.

Forrest, J.A.

Gash, J.

Georgiou, P.

Haase, B.W.

Hartsuyker, L.

Hawke, A.

Hawker, D.P.M.

Hull, K.E. *

Hunt, G.A.

Irons, S.J.

Jensen, D.

Johnson, M.A. *

Laming, A.

Ley, S.P.

Lindsay, P.J.

Macfarlane, I.E.

Marino, N.B.

Markus, L.E.

May, M.A.

Morrison, S.J.

Moylan, J.E.

Pearce, C.J.

Pyne, C.

Ramsey, R.

Ruddock, P.M.

Schultz, A.

Scott, B.C.

Secker, P.D.

Simpkins, L.

Slipper, P.N.

Smith, A.D.H.

Somlyay, A.M.

Southcott, A.J.

Stone, S.N.

Truss, W.E.

Tuckey, C.W.

Turnbull, M.

Vale, D.S.

Washer, M.J.

Wood, J.

77NOES

Adams, D.G.H.

Albanese, A.N.

Bevis, A.R.

Bidgood, J.

Bird, S.

Bowen, C.

Bradbury, D.J.

Burke, A.E.

Burke, A.S.

Butler, M.C.

Byrne, A.M.

Campbell, J.

Champion, N.

Cheeseman, D.L.

Clare, J.D.

Collins, J.M.

Combet, G.

Crean, S.F.

D’Ath, Y.M.

Danby, M.

Debus, B.

Dreyfus, M.A.

Elliot, J.

Ellis, K.

Emerson, C.A.

Ferguson, L.D.T.

Ferguson, M.J.

Fitzgibbon, J.A.

Garrett, P.

Georganas, S. *

George, J.

Gibbons, S.W.

Gillard, J.E.

Gray, G.

Grierson, S.J.

Griffin, A.P.

Hale, D.F.

Hall, J.G. *

Irwin, J.

Jackson, S.M.

Kelly, M.J.

Kerr, D.J.C.

King, C.F.

Livermore, K.F.

Macklin, J.L.

Marles, R.D.

McClelland, R.B.

McKew, M.

Melham, D.

Murphy, J.

Neal, B.J.

Neumann, S.K.

O’Connor, B.P.

Owens, J.

Parke, M.

Perrett, G.D.

Plibersek, T.

Raguse, B.B.

Rea, K.M.

Ripoll, B.F.

Rishworth, A.L.

Roxon, N.L.

Saffin, J.A.

Shorten, W.R.

Sidebottom, S.

Snowdon, W.E.

Sullivan, J.

Swan, W.M.

Symon, M.

Tanner, L.

Thomson, C.

Thomson, K.J.

Trevor, C.

Turnour, J.P.

Vamvakinou, M.

Windsor, A.H.C.

Zappia, A.

5PAIRS

Neville, P.C.

Ellis, A.L.

Mirabella, S.

Price, L.R.S.

Randall, D.J.

Hayes, C.P.

Robert, S.R.

McMullan, R.F.

Hockey, J.B.

Smith, S.F.

* denotes teller

Question negatived.


Ms ROXON —The GP superclinic strategy is going full-steam ahead. As I said, we have services now being delivered in many communities across the country—the longest-serving being in Palmerston, where there are many thousands of members of the community who have received after-hours services at the interim superclinic that is servicing that community. So I say now is the time for the member for Dickson to make a decision about whether he is going to take up an interest in his local superclinic, take up an interest in health policy and take up an interest in Dickson. But, in fact, what we have seen is no fight, no policies and—no surprise—no seat.