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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 2135


Mrs MOYLAN (Pearce) (21:26): I note we will only get a couple of minutes but I would like to respond to some of the criticisms by the member for Shortland, because although it is true that the coalition has been critical of the way in which this proposed measure will be implemented by the government, the process was started under the former coalition government. So it is not that we are against the principles of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Bill 2011—far from it. It is just that, as with many of the present government's policy initiatives, they fall flat when they try to put them into practice. The difficulty of this particular challenge has been exposed recently with the E-Health Transition Authority announcing in January that the work on primary care desktop software development at their test sites has been halted due to the discovery of technical incompatibilities across versions and that there was 'potential clinical risk if work continued using the specification supplied'.

One of the major problems the coalition has is the way in which this bill has been introduced before. Some of the bugs have been ironed out of the system. We do not want to see a repeat of the pink batts fiasco, which cost this country billions of dollars to rectify. It has that potential for this to be implemented in a way that does not do the job it is intended to do. Back in November 2004, the then health minister and now opposition leader, Mr Abbott, made a pertinent point in answer to a question put by my colleague the member for Moore, which this government should have listened to. Speaking about the work of the National E-Health Transition Authority, he noted that just about all the computers on the health professionals' desks right around our country are already linked by the internet. The challenge though is to try to create a secure database with secure transmission. That is the task at hand. I do not think at this stage that the government has demonstrated that it is taking that challenge into consideration in this bill.

As I said, millions of dollars have been spent on ensuring this initiative is workable. The government is really rushing the system into operation simply to meet some arbitrary deadline it set for itself. While we all recognise it is good to have targets and deadlines, it is also very important to get such a measure right and not to put the health of people in this nation at risk because we have not ironed out the bugs in the system. I look forward to continuing my comments at a later hour. I note that we are shortly due to move into the adjournment debate. I am sure that in a very mobile society, on the positive side of this bill— (Time expired)

Debate interrupted.