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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1809..


Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, may I raise a point of order at this point? One other question I did raise in the supplementary question - this will have to go down as the longest answer to a supplementary question ever - was that Mrs Carnell might answer how she expects to get Mr Carr to give her $16m to subsidise her $14.2m overrun.

MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister is answering the question.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I was actually getting to that.

MR SPEAKER: I am sure that you were, Chief Minister.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Berry continues to accuse this Government of seeing fewer patients, doing fewer operations, and the fact is that we have done 1,300 extra operations. Mr Berry cooked the books when he was Health Minister. One could say that either he cooked the books or he did not know what was going on, either of which would tend to indicate a censure motion, Mr Speaker.

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker - - -

MRS CARNELL: I will withdraw "cooked the books". With regard to the $16m and why the New South Wales Government would even contemplate paying that to the ACT Government, that is actually the figure that would correlate to the amount of money that ACT taxpayers have to pay in capital costs to service the 25 to 30 per cent of New South Wales patients using our hospital system. In other words, if you have a situation where between a quarter and a third of your patients come from somewhere else, it means beds; it means equipment; it means all the bits and pieces that go to looking after those patients.

The interesting thing is that those beds and that equipment will need to be provided wherever those patients happen to go. If they happen to go to a New South Wales hospital - say, to a Sydney hospital - then, similarly, New South Wales will have to provide the capital cost. The capital cost was one of the issues that we asked be looked at in our recent negotiations with New South Wales. The current Federal Health Minister has indicated that he believes that New South Wales should cover the capital cost to the ACT and that negotiations should continue on the issue.

Library Services

MS HORODNY: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services and is in relation to the library services review. Minister, this review proposes splitting the provision of library services into purchaser and provider; a reduction in the total number of staff for the provider of 13 full-time equivalents; and a substantial reduction in full-time positions on the purchaser side once changes put forward in this review are implemented. Can the Minister tell me just how many jobs, in total, will be lost and what is the justification for cuts in the number of staff, particularly inside the libraries and particularly as we often have reports that some libraries are having difficulty coping with demand, with the present staffing levels?


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