Monday, 21 November 2011
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Moreton for his question, particularly on a day on which Australia has now finally passed the world's first plain-packaging legislation. I know that he has been a very keen advocate of that measure. That will save many lives in the future. I can report to the House that across the country Labor's health reforms are starting to make a very practical difference to the community. For example, I know that the member for Greenway clearly understands the benefits. The Prime Minister was in her electorate, and on the front page of the Blacktown Advocate the member was welcoming, as was the Prime Minister, that there will now be 150 medical trainees in Blacktown when six years ago there were none. Six years ago there were none and there is a capacity now for there to be 150 medical students doing their training in Blacktown, providing services into the western suburbs of Sydney where they were not able to do that before.
I know, for example, that the member for Wannon will be delighted that the Portland GP superclinic has been on the front page of his local paper twice—two weeks in a row—because the Portland superclinic is going to provide his community and his citizens with access to special services.
I know, for example, that the member for Robertson will be particularly delighted that the front page of her paper, the Peninsula News, reports that the new rehabilitation beds at Woy Woy Hospital will be very welcome. And I know that our friend, the member for New England, who is not in the chamber now, was delighted to turn the first sod—with a particular country flair, I think actually throwing the first sod—for the regional cancer centre which is going to be in Tamworth. I know that my colleague, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport—also interested in soil—was delighted that Stanmore Public School was getting one of the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden programs.
I hold all these articles up to highlight to the community and to highlight to the House that across each and every electorate we have investments in health services that are delivering to the community. We have more GP registrars in training—900 this year. When Mr Abbott was health minister, he had a cap on GP training places at 600. We now have 900, and that is going up to 1,200 providing services across the community.
We have our GP after-hours hotline, which is now providing support and relief to families—in the middle of the night, when their GP is not open, they can call and have a GP on the end of the line to get advice. More than 50,000 Australians, many of them with young children, have taken advantage of those health services.
Of course, we are seeing changes in our hospitals as we speak. For the first time staph infection rates in each and every hospital are being provided on the My Hospitals website. These reforms have all been opposed by those opposite. They said at the last election that they would cut funding for superclinics and for primary care infrastructure grants. They have never supported the regional cancer centres and they have said they will close down the GP after-hours line. We are getting on with the job of delivering health services that this man opposite never delivered when he was the health minister.