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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 195..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

who have a complex range of needs. It has been demonstrated that, if they have somewhere to go to have all of their needs looked at, mapped and planned for, then their experience in hospital is a lot better. Those beds will be opening in around April.

We have looked strategically at the requirements. We have provided 126 extra beds in the last three years, and it will not stop there. I think that any Minister for Health will see the need for more beds in every budget from now and into the future. Certainly the growth money that has been provided to health through the budget will enable us to continue to deliver beds. But we are not just going to say, "We need 100 acute care beds,"and not have any way of delivering them. We are going to look at where the beds are needed: are they ICU beds, critical care beds or coronary care beds, beds that will provide more support for elderly patients or more step-down beds? We will look at our mental health needs, in conjunction with the PSU, and at community beds in terms of community providers being able to provide supported accommodation, particularly in the mental health area.

That planning work is under way. The preparation to meet the demand is under way and ongoing to make sure that we have the facilities, the services and the infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing aging community.

ACTION bus service-timetable

MRS DUNNE: My question is to Mr Hargreaves as Minister for the Territory and Municipal Services and relates to Network 06, the ACTION bus timetable. Minister, on 20 February, at the Belconnen Community Council, you told those assembled a variety of things, including that you were not going to take advice from bus drivers about how to fix up the bus system, that they were paid fair enough to do their job and that one of the reasons that the buses were running late was that drivers were deliberately doing so because the enterprise bargaining agreement was coming up. You also told the community that the service was fine, that people just needed to be educated and change their behaviour. Since then it has been reported that you are going to reapply some of the services that existed before the introduction of Network 06 in December last year. Minister, why don't you just fess up to the community that Network 06 was a huge mistake and scrap it immediately, at least in the first instance in favour of the old network?

MR HARGREAVES: The first thing I would observe is that Mrs Dunne was not at that meeting. So Mrs Dunne is doing what the Liberal Party do particularly well; they perpetrate Chinese whispers. They come into this place with hearsay and portray it as gospel-the gospel according to St Vicki. I am sorry about that, Mr Speaker. Usually you have to take it with a grain of salt, understanding that the context will be different from the first time and also that they will not tell the story in its entirety, if they get any of it right.

I am just wondering whether this question is appropriate, given Mrs Dunne's motion for tomorrow. I guess it is okay because it is not on the notice paper as yet. In effect, Mrs Dunne is inviting me to give the speech that I will give tomorrow when she brings forward her motion, trying to get the government to revert to the previous network.

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