GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (15:56:18): My constituency question is for the health minister, the Honourable Jenny Mikakos. Recently my office met with the Victorian Oral Health Alliance. Access to affordable dental care determines the overall health of communities; however, the Western Victoria Region currently hosts some of the longest waiting times for public dental care. There are currently over 36 000 adults and children awaiting urgent and preventative dental care in western Victoria. My question is: is the health minister able to highlight the steps that the Andrews government is taking in order to reduce waiting times for public dental care in western Victoria? Ms Lovell: On a point of order, President, I just wanted to raise a point of order around a constituency question that I raised with the Minister for Public Transport on 6 March.
It was to do with a specific railway crossing in my electorate that is dangerous. The response that I received from the minister was just referring me to a website about a statewide program that that particular crossing is not part of. Constituency questions have to be about an issue that is specific to an electorate, and they cannot be about a statewide program. Presiding Officers have been explicit about this before. Therefore I consider that the answers ought to be the same—they should be specific to the matter raised and not about a statewide program. President, in conversations with you, you indicated that perhaps you do not have the power to encourage ministers to be responsive to questions. If you do not have that power to encourage ministers to be responsive, perhaps we could refer this to the Procedure Committee for a change to standing orders to require the answers to meet the same criteria as a constituency question. The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Ms Lovell. You are correct. There is nothing in the standing orders that says I can determine that an answer to a constituency question be redone by that particular minister. We do have a Procedure Committee meeting I think tomorrow or Thursday, and you being a member, we will have general business time, and I am happy for you to bring that up then.