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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 12148


Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (10:30): I rise this morning to speak on a very important issue in my electorate. On 12 October 2011 Minister Roxon issued a media statement, which I am sure she was hoping was going to go unnoticed. The reason is that it was another Labor broken election promise.

As we already know, the Gillard Labor government broke its biggest election promise with the carbon tax when it was introduced and passed through the House of Representatives, despite the Prime Minister saying five days before the election:

There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.

We all know that this government has an integrity issue, which was further demonstrated by Minister Roxon dumping the promised GP superclinic for Darwin's northern suburbs. While it is no secret that I did not support the proposed GP superclinic, I believe the $5 million should be used to expand and improve current health services for Darwin and Palmerston residents.

This is the sentiment that the Northern Territory parliament shares with me. How do I know this? Well, it passed a motion that the $5 million not be used for a GP superclinic but rather be used to improve medical services, including getting more doctors in the Territory. I call on the Henderson Labor government to stand up to the Gillard Labor government with me and demand that the promised $5 million be quarantined for use in the Territory for new programs that will expand and improve health services for the people of Solomon. Shadow minister Peter Dutton and I recently met with a number of organisations that also support the $5 million being quarantined for use in the Territory, further noting that it must be used for new programs.

It is interesting that Minister Roxon had known since July that there were no applications for the GP superclinic in Darwin's northern suburbs, but waited until carbon tax day, or as some might call it 'Australia's betrayal day', to make the announcement. It is the Gillard Labor government's responsibility to deliver on these promises. I remind both Minister Roxon and Territory Labor members that this commitment is a Labor election promise and it is up to Labor to deliver on its promise. The Prime Minister said that she will honour all Labor election promises. With that said, the Gillard Labor government must honour the $5 million commitment made by Minister Roxon and the former Labor member for Solomon.

I did not support the proposed GP superclinic. I support investment in existing services to improve and expand them. Let us remember that I am a member of the opposition and it is my job to hold the Gillard Labor government to account. That is exactly what I am going to do, and that is what my electorate expects of me. They want me to demand that Minister Roxon honour her commitment of $5 million so it can be used to develop, expand and improve existing medical services for Darwin and Palmerston residents.

I have asked for a meeting with the minister to discuss funding options, and to date there has been no response from her office, which is very disappointing. What medically deprived areas need is more doctors, not just buildings. New buildings are great but if they are not well staffed what is the point? Too many of our GP superclinics have been a terrible disappointment when it comes to actually getting more health services into local areas.