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ACT and NSW sign regional health agreement

ACT Chief Minister says 25 per cent of activity in ACT hospitals now comes from South-East NSW.

Any border disputes between NSW and ACT government services are set to ease through new regional collaboration, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said.

O'Farrell and ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Sydney on Friday to improve the delivery of services in south-eastern NSW and the capital.

Due to a population boom in the region, particularly around Queanbeyan in NSW, O'Farrell said the proper co-ordination of education, health and infrastructure was needed.

"Problems don't stop at borders, and resources available on one side of the border should be available to the other side," O'Farrell said.

According to Gallagher, 25 per cent of activity in ACT hospitals now comes from south-east NSW, with that figure increasing to 50 per cent for cancer services.

"It doesn't make any sense to put a cancer service in Queanbeyan when we've got a cancer centre in Canberra," she told reporters.

"We just need to make sure the one in Canberra is there to service the region.

"This isn't a grab for money from the ACT onto the NSW government. This is about being better organised for both of our communities."

The MoU replaces the Regional Management Framework signed by the two jurisdictions in 2006. Sustained population growth, continued economic interdependencies and the complex issues of service delivery have led to the revision of the way the two jurisdictions engage, Gallagher said.

The initial priorities of the MoU are to identify economic opportunities, pursue sustainable regional growth including land use and infrastructure planning, and promote targeted service delivery, initially in the health and education sectors. Priority work plans for these areas will be developed in consultation with the relevant Ministers in each jurisdiction.

A copy of the MoU is available at http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/policystrategic/regional

With AAP

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