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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . . Page.. 2026..


Question so resolved in the negative.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (10.20): I move amendment No 3 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 2037].

Amendment No 3 omits the section repealing the Health Promotion Act, one of the three areas that we say should not be covered by this bill.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.21): I just want to make the point again that the argument seems to be that the government wants some efficiency and that there are too many people supporting Healthpact. Therefore, the only solution, the only answer that we can possibly have to that, is to drag it back into the department. Again I make the point that not too many organisations that are dragged back into departments end up with increased effectiveness or efficiency. That was actually one of the outcomes of the reforms that occurred in Western Australia, courtesy of the Costello report for there.

Not only did they not save money in the required time frame, not only did they spend more money to set it up and not only did they employ extra staff to set it up, but also there was a decrease in effectiveness and a decrease in efficiency because people did not know the area that they were talking about or did not know the area's complexities, the groups on the ground or the actual needs of the community.

Here we are again. I want to thank Ms Gallagher for the book she gave me. She launched it not so long ago when she became the health minister. It has Mr Corbell's smiling face inside and has him saying that it is a great organisation. He thanked them all for the 10 years of Healthpact. There were tea and scones. The former board members and directors were up the front of the photos. At the same time, the government knew full well that it was going to destroy the structure and the infrastructure that it had set up.

Everybody is in favour of efficiency. That is a reasonable thing. But if you have identified a lack of efficiency, why have you sat on your hands until this point, why have you not fixed it up and why have you not looked at other solutions? If the answer is efficiency, then get the efficiency dividend from the organisation as it exists rather than dragging it through a reform process which, if it follows what happened in Western Australia, and that is more than likely what will happen, will mean that it will be less effective and it will be less efficient. That is being short-sighted because, if we do not keep Canberrans healthy, the outcome will be that you will get more visits to the hospital.

Preventable diseases account for about one-third of all presentations to the hospital: a day in acute hospital care at a cost of $960 against some ASO1s and ASO2s. So there is the problem. The change is short-sighted, it will be less effective, it will be less efficient and it will be less in touch with its community. Therefore, it will have a negative effect on the health of Canberrans.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo-Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (10.24): Mr Speaker, the challenge to the Liberal Party on this issue is quite simple: demonstrate where in the budget papers there is any reduction in the funding of health promotion activity in the territory.


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