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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3524..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

In retrospect, the timeframes were a little ambitious. Nonetheless, I can give members an update of where expenditure broadly is at and I will provide further details as soon as possible. The third appropriation act, as amended, provided $107.9 million to various agencies across government. Of the total appropriation, $84 million has been expended or committed as at 30 June 2004. Of the remaining $24 million not expended or committed as at 30 June 2004, $16 million relates to the $32.2 million in capital injections provided to Housing ACT for public and community housing.

Although the $16 million has not been expended, those funds have been earmarked for specific purposes, including $7 million for expanding community housing through the community organisation rental housing assistance program head leasing arrangements; $3 million to community housing providers; and $3.2 million for expanding indigenous housing. Those funds have not been committed to specific organisations at this time though discussions have been held with the sector to ascertain its views.

In addition, $2.7 million is remaining to expend on public housing, and properties will be purchased using these funds in 2004-05. Of the remaining balance $3.8 million relates to EBAs for nurses and visiting medical officers; $1.4 relates to the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support due to difficulties in recruiting qualified staff; $0.5 million relates to the coronial inquest and Eastman inquiry-the Eastman inquiry is expected to gain momentum early this financial year, a little later than expected-and other minor items relate to delays in the procurement of emergency services for the Emergency Service Authority, Cotter catchment conservation and re-vegetation work in which expenditure has been delayed by the drought and will be used for springtime plantings, and in the repair and replacement of fire-damaged fences. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Public hospital system

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Speaker has received a letter from Mr Smyth proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The ongoing crisis in the ACT public hospital system.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (3.33): Over the past six or seven months there has been a litany of headlines in the media concerning the state of public hospitals in the ACT. That litany of headlines and by-lines on the radio and television relates to things such as the hospital system going on bypass 38 times in just seven months; hospital waiting lists going up 35 per cent in the life of this government; the number of people on the public waiting list increasing to over 50 per cent; emergency department treatment times blowing out or not being met; and the Press Ganey report placing the ACT public hospital system in the lowest 10 per cent of hospitals in the country.

That litany of headlines and by-lines also relates to things such as the step-down facility that was promised by the previous government in March 2001 but that will not be built until February 2006, almost five years after the start of the process. It also relates to the number of nursing home-type patients. Twenty-five to 35 nursing home-type patients cannot be accommodated in nursing homes because this government's planning process


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