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Tuesday, 10 December 1974
Page: 3261

Senator MISSEN (VICTORIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Health. I refer to the Minister's decision to establish, without proper local consultation, a community health centre in Centre Road, East Bentleigh in Victoria, at the extravagant cost of approximately $650,000. I ask: Is the Minister aware that a representative public meeting of more than 200 local citizens on 18 November 1974 expressed grave concern and condemned the creation of the proposed centre as an unnecessary duplication of services? Is not the area already adequately covered by general practitioners? Is the centre to be placed opposite the Morrabbin Community Hospital which already has planned facilities for all ancillliary medical services? Is the Minister prepared to review his decision so that scarce funds can be used for other pressing health needs in the district as already sought by the Moorabbin Council, and not for duplicated services?

Senator WHEELDON - I know nothing of these matters which have taken place in Moorabbin and which have so agitated Senator Missen. I find it difficult to believe that the Minister for Health has not engaged in proper consultation before he has established a hospital or before he has done anything else. I do find it very interestingand a matter from which the Government should take great heart- that a Liberal senator, Senator Missen, is not complaining about a shortage of medical services but a superabundance of medical services. I think it is an indication of the kinds of actions which have been taken by this Government that the Opposition cannot complain about a shortage of medical services; all it can say is that there are too many hospitals under a Labor government. I would certainly far rather be accused of having too many hospitals than of having too few hospitals which was the case under our miserable predecessors. As for the remainder of these matters, I shall put them to the Minister. If he lets me have a reply before the Senate rises I shall see that Senator Missen gets it.

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