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Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Page: 7585


Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (14:38): My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing. For the interest of all members in the chamber, can the minister please report to the House any progress on the much anticipated $7 million GP superclinic for Port Macquarie?

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: If those who are excited wish to jump and ask a question of the same ilk about their electorate, they can try to get the call. It is a proper question, it is in order and the Minister for Health and Ageing has the call.

Ms ROXON (GellibrandMinister for Health and Ageing) (14:38): Thank you, Mr Speaker. As it happens, I do have an update that I can provide for the member for Lyne. As it also happens, if I had a question from the member for Gilmore or the member for Cowper, I would also have an update for them. However, they have not asked a question about GP superclinics, probably because they have committed to cut the funding for them. Nevertheless, I think the people of Port Macquarie will be delighted to know that just on Thursday last week the government completed negotiations with a preferred tenderer and was able to sign, and I can announce in the House today that a funding agreement has been signed with the Rural and Metropolitan Health Pty Ltd business, Port Macquarie, to build and operate the $7 million Port Macquarie GP superclinic. This is a group that is well known to at least one member opposite, the member for Paterson, who has an operational superclinic in his electorate at Port Stephens which is run by the same successful applicant who will build and construct the superclinic at Port Macquarie. I can also inform the House that the member for Richmond has made an announcement in her electorate about a successful application process which has come to fruition.

The clinic in Port Macquarie is going to be an enormous investment for the local community. It is going to have integrated, multidisciplinary, team based care. It is going to have GPs, practice nurses, nurse practitioners, visiting medical specialists and allied health professionals. It is going to provide dietetic and psychology services, paediatric care, antenatal care and women's and men's health checks. Of interest, given the age of the community, there is going to be a focus not just on those paediatric services for the young families but also on the needs of older people in the community, including a commitment to provide home and nursing home visits. The selection of the Rural and Metropolitan Health group follows a very rigorous assessment process which is used for each superclinic and, as I have mentioned, it is a group that has a proven track record as an operator and already as an operator of GP superclinics.

Of course, this follows hot on the heels of my having been in Gunnedah to turn a sod with the member for New England for the Gunnedah superclinic. I know this is a matter that the member for Parkes, Mr Coulton, was very active in promoting when it was in his electorate. It comes hot on the heels of the member for Franklin opening on the weekend the Clarence superclinic in her electorate. This is good news for comm­unities across the country. There will be 64 superclinics that will be provided to communities across all electorates. Unfort­unately, the Liberal Party still opposes these, although I do notice that members like the member for Gilmore and the member for Cowper are anxiously awaiting the ann­ouncements from their electorates, and we will be certainly be making them very shortly.