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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 280..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

The elective surgery performance measures have not been reported in recent months due to the new patient administration system. We feel that most of the issues around that have been resolved now but there are a couple still outstanding. We report more than any other government in Australia on the performance of our health system and we are very proud to do that. I think it is important information to have. However, most of the issues have been resolved. There has been a small blip in access to some information but we will be in a better position to provide that—

Mr Smyth: A "small blip"? It was four months, wasn't it?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, we prioritise, making sure that patients are looked after in the hospital and Mr Smyth's need to have an accurate waiting list figure probably slipped down the line a bit in terms of issues that needed to be dealt with at the time. But we have been working on it.

The information is all there and we are happy to provide it to everyone. We will have the figures for January and February fairly soon. There may be some minor changes to the numbers as the final refinement to the data is made but the overall picture is not expected to change. What that shows is more emergency surgery than ever before and increased access to elective surgery. We have all of the staff at the hospital working together on solutions to more long-term management ways around how surgery is performed at our hospital to make sure that it is delivering the most efficient and patient-friendly surgery that can be done. But all is well really. I will wait and see how the negative slant can be put. Really, the only negative figure that I can see is the increase in 17. But I sure there is something else and I will respond to that, as I do most graciously, on the radio when it comes out.

Water—recycling

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, it is a matter of public record that only now has Actew come up with a contingency plan to pump recycled water into an expanded Cotter Dam to protect the ACT if water inflows to the territory's reservoirs continue to be worse than originally forecast. Can you explain why your government has taken almost six years to act on an increasingly dire situation? Why, only after almost six long, dry years, is a contingency plan now being developed?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the shadow Treasurer for the question. I think it does deny just a tad of history, the fact that, in the view of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, over the last six years Australia, including this region, has experienced the worst drought in our recorded history. Indeed, the bureau of meteorology is now suggesting a worst drought scenario well beyond our recorded history. This is highlighted by the fact that 2006 is now regarded by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as the worst ever drought year suffered in Canberra post or pre European settlement.

The dam capacity that we currently enjoy through the four dams within our system is, in the view of some, capable of ensuring a secure supply for a population well over two times that which we currently have, and that includes the region. We have been in government for just over five years, and in relation to the sixth year that Mr Mulcahy


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