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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 5450

Mr HALE (7:39 PM) —My question concerns the 2010-11 Commonwealth budget and is about the Rudd government’s $355 million commitment to expand the successful GP superclinic program. The minister would be aware that on two occasions she has visited the GP superclinic site in Palmerston: the first to turn the first sod and the second to inspect works. I am pleased to inform the House and the minister that the work is steaming ahead and we look forward to the opening of the clinic in the coming months. The minister would also be aware that since December 2008 residents in Palmerston have been able to receive after-hours care from this facility. This means that many people do not need to make the trip into Royal Darwin Hospital, which is good for the Palmerston community. Some 30 people a night have presented at the clinic and I think only about 10 per cent have had to be referred on. It is a significant number of people who have not had to go into Royal Darwin Hospital. My question to the minister is, and she is aware of my strong support for this program: can she outline why the government will invest a further $355 million to this program and are there any obstacles in the way of seeing this program delivered to communities across Australia and, in particular, in the Northern Territory in my seat of Solomon?