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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (4 August) . . Page.. 3415..


MR WOOD: I will take the five minutes on this answer to tell Mr Smyth what we are doing. We are pouring more money into hospital services than ever before; there is certainly an increase on what the previous government did. We are aware of the pressures on the emergency department. There is no question about that. For that reason, in recent times we have put significant money into it, and we are continuing to put money into it. We have already announced a nine-bed emergency medicine unit and the introduction of rapid assessment and response teams at a cost of $11/4 million. We have announced an eight-bed clinical decision unit and four multiday medical beds at Calvary Hospital at a cost of just over a million dollars. We are providing $11.3 million over four years to increase the number of beds in the intensive care unit at the hospital, and there is a physical redevelopment of the emergency department, to enhance patient flow, at a cost of $3.5 million. They are just some of the things we are doing as we continue on this path to provide, as the emergency department does, the best emergency service in the nation.

Bushfires

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Given that you were acting emergency services minister on the evening of 17 January and the Chief Minister in charge of a cabinet facing a highly dangerous threat to the community, where exactly were you in Canberra on the evening of 17 January and what exactly were you doing about that threat that evening?

MR STANHOPE: I was in the north of Canberra, Mr Speaker.

MR PRATT: Chief Minister, why are you so reluctant to tell the community what you were doing, other than embarrassment at your poor performance in a crisis?

MR STANHOPE: I'm not, Mr Speaker.

ACT Health-drug and alcohol program

MR STEFANIAK: My question is directed to the Chief Minister as the minister responsible for the public service. I refer to allegations by whistleblowers about serious problems in the ACT drug and alcohol program in the ACT department of health. You commissioned internal reports into the program to investigate these concerns. Are you treating the allegations as public interest disclosures under the relevant legislation?

MR STANHOPE: That matter is being handled by the Acting Minister for Health. I ask him to take the question.

MR WOOD: It is being handled appropriately. I have made a number of comments publicly and I have backed those comments with action. Ms Tucker raised those issues. As a result-we take these issues very seriously-we have commissioned three separate external reviews. First, a probity review has commenced. That is being conducted by Acumen Alliance and the ACT internal health auditors with a range of terms of reference appropriate to the issues raised. If you like I can read them out.


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