Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1600..
MR SPEAKER: I do not want interruptions, and I do not want churlish interruptions either.
MR MOORE: You may recall that we had significant problems like this in the intensive care unit two or three years ago. The issues then were not just financial issues. They were also management issues and a range of others. The management of the Canberra Hospital have taken a range of measures, working with the department, to make sure that we move the pressure from beds at the Canberra Hospital. They include such things as ensuring that nursing home patients in our hospital can find beds. The last time I checked there were 19 people who fitted into that category. Being able to clear 19 beds would resolve the problem we have in front of us. It is not just about money. It is also about management.
I know it is convenience accounting for Mr Quinlan to say that we are likely to have an outcome of so-and-so and that that is what we should be comparing to. But in fact we do not have that outcome yet. We have a predicted outcome. Mr Quinlan talks about those figures, and they are in the estimates report. In fact, the reality is that since last year's budget, when you take into account this year's budget, we have put in something in the order of $20 million. This is not a small amount of money. This is a huge amount of money. On what was budgeted last year, and has now been repeated, there is an increase of 10.7 per cent-in the order of $20 million-budget to budget. That is the critical issue.
If we just work to end-of-year outcome and then look at how we are going to do it, that is an invitation to the hospital to blow its budget. While it happened under Labor, it has not happened under my management, because we brought it back under control when it was trying to go that way. We now have the management systems in place. This is a good opportunity for me to thank Mr Ted Rayment, the financial manager at the hospital, who has done a tremendous amount of work; Mr Gordon Lee Koo, who has been absolutely brilliant and prepared to do that job; and all board members, particularly the chair and deputy chair, Mr Peter McPhillips and Mr Trevor Boucher, who have worked absolutely tirelessly to make sure that the financial systems at the hospital are right-always within the context of my directive that patient care comes first. That is what we are working towards. That is what we will continue to work for.
Budget operating position
MRS BURKE: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Humphries. It relates to the improvements in the government's operating position between the 1995-96 and the 1996-97 year of approximately $170 million. I am sure the Treasurer is aware of concerns raised by Mr Quinlan that such an improvement was not "humanly possible". There are a couple of points here. Can the Treasurer assure the Assembly that such an improvement did occur, and does he have independent proof? Is the Treasurer aware of other years when the territory's operating position improved as significantly as it did in 1996-97?
MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mrs Burke for that question, a very good question. I did hear Mr Quinlan on ABC radio on 2 May saying he would resign if the government could prove the claim that we had made that we inherited an operating loss of