ACT OPPOSITION leader Jeremy Hanson has accused Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and the ACT Labor Party of “lying”, after it was announced in February that the Walk-In Centre at Canberra Hospital would be closed, once the service is expanded with two new clinics to open in Belconnen and Tuggeranong later this year.“Today in the Assembly, the Canberra Liberals will highlight that the Chief Minister’s lie that ACT Labor would keep the Walk-In Centre open at the Canberra Hospital was nothing more than dirty electioneering during the 2012 campaign,” Mr Hanson said in a statement this morning. “Last month Labor revealed its true colours announcing the Centre’s closure.”
Last year the Canberra Liberals argued the Walk-In Centre, which is the first of its kind in Australia, should never have been located at the hospital and highlighted an independent study that found it had increased pressure on the emergency department.
Labor’s policy in July 2012 was to double the funding to the intitative and open new Walk-In Centres in Tuggeranong and Belconnen. In February the Chief Minister announced that once the new centres were open, the original at Woden would be closed.
Mr Hanson said he would ask Ms Gallagher to “apologise for lying to the Canberra community” in the 2012 election campaign, when she said that if elected, Labor would expand the Walk-In Centres while the Liberals, she said, would “close them down”.
“ACT Labor lied about the sensitive issue of the Walk-In Centre ahead of the 2012 election just to score political points,” Mr Hanson said. “This back-flip will destroy the trust between ACT Labor and many Canberrans.”
In response, Ms Gallagher said Mr Hanson was playing politics and deliberately seeking to misrepresent the government’s position.
“The motion put forward by the opposition today is based on one line that was extracted from a speech I delivered to the ACT Labor Party Conference in 2012, which in isolation does not clearly demonstrate the government’s ongoing commitment to the walk-in centre model,” she said.
“[...] This is yet another backflip from Mr Hanson who before the election clearly stated he would close the nurse-led walk-in centre without any alternative plan to provide this sort of primary medical care to the ACT community.”