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Thursday, 31 March 2022
Page: 1530


Mrs ARCHER (Bass) (10:46): My decision to run for parliament at the 2019 election was driven by a desire to bring the focus back to community. Like many regions across Australia, access to health services is a major concern for our community, particularly as northern Tasmanians have a higher ageing population rate and there are more battling chronic disease than elsewhere in the country. From the day that I was elected I've been fighting for better access to primary health services, particularly around accessibility to general practices. We've been battling a number of challenges, including the recruitment and retention of doctors. After much advocacy to the Minister for Health and Aged Care and the Minister for Regional Health, I was able to secure an additional $2 million in funding to assist general practices to address these challenges. The complex issues still exist, and I will continue to fight for improved access to GP services for our community. I'm also fighting for more to be done to assist cancer survivors post treatment. As someone who has spoken publicly about my own challenges with mental health, I also understand deeply the challenges that exist and the need for additional services for people of all ages in our community. During the 2019 election I fought to secure a Head to Health centre in Launceston, which opened at its interim site at the end of January and has already assisted hundreds of locals. As a free walk-in clinic this service is critical in ensuring that those who need help are not falling through the cracks.

Addressing the scourge of family and domestic violence is also a cause close to my heart. Over the past few years I've worked with stakeholders, victim-survivors and the ministers on what is really needed to enact effective change in these areas. There is a lot of work being undertaken, but there is so much more to do. I'm personally proud to have secured funds to move the Family Court in Launceston, after a decade of lobbying by family law advocates, due to serious concerns over the safety of the current premises.

Of course, the biggest challenge of this term of parliament has been the COVID-19 pandemic. I've spoken many times on the health and economic measures put in place to support our community over the past few years, which have kept northern Tasmanians healthy and in jobs. When the pandemic first began, I also wanted to look at ways to show my personal support that would have a tangible impact on the small-business community, so my small-business shout-outs began. Over the past two years, more than $10,000 has been directly put back into our local economy through more than 100 shout-outs.

In my first speech I said I was committed to being a genuine and authentic representative of the northern Tasmanian community, and as my first term comes to a close I am proud of what I've have achieved for my community. I hope to continue to represent Bass in Canberra for as long as I have the privilege to do so.