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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 6229

Mr BUTLER (Port AdelaideMinister for Mental Health and Ageing) (11:29): I will have to take some of those 34 questions or thereabouts on notice from the shadow parliamentary secretary, particularly the specific ones about particular services, but let me just clear up the record on this program before taking a number of those specific questions on notice. I know the opposition wants to run down the GP Super Clinics Program, but let me reiterate that this government has a very strong view that targeted interventions to ensure equality of access to quality primary healthcare services—

Dr Southcott interjecting

Mr BUTLER: Settle down. Targeted interventions to ensure quality primary care access across the community are needed. We needed to lift the number of GPs in training following the cap that was kept in place at 600 by the Leader of the Opposition during his five years as health minister. We are lifting that over the course of time up to 1,200. We need to ensure that those communities who have high healthcare needs that are not well-served by a market based solution, which is generally the approach taken in the Medicare system, get the sorts of supports that are delivered through the GP Super Clinics Program.

I know that the opposition wants to run this program down, but let me state for the record that over 350,000 services have already been delivered through GP superclinics. As the shadow parliamentary secretary indicated, there are 11 GP superclinics that are operational, but there are also nine services that are providing early services and are under construction. There is an additional service providing early services without construction, and there are 10 further services that are under construction and in a short time will be providing services, no doubt. I am happy to take the particular questions the shadow parliamentary secretary has asked on notice, and I thank him for his interest in the delivery of good-quality primary health care to the Australian community.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The time for this session has expired. The minister seeks a final comment?

Mr BUTLER: Not a final comment, Madam Acting Deputy Speaker; this is a matter that was raised at the beginning of the consideration of the Health and Ageing portfolio, which I understand has been the subject of discussion with the opposition, which is for some reordering of the proposed expenditures. I suggest that the order for the consideration of the proposed expenditures agreed to by the House previously be varied by considering the proposed expenditure for the following portfolios after the Attorney General's portfolio this afternoon: firstly, the Foreign Affairs segment of the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio; secondly, the workplace relations and BER segment of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio; and then the tertiary education and skills and school education, early childhood and youth segments of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Is the suggestion of the minister agreed to? There being no objection, it is so ordered.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio

Proposed expenditure, $2,591,562,000