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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (31 May) . . Page.. 1305..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

We need to ensure that we create the capacity for that throughput to occur. I certainly do not dictate who gets seen first. I do not think Mrs Burke is even suggesting that I should say that categories 3 and 4 need to be focused on. Categories 1 and 2 will always come first in terms of access to the emergency department.

In the next month I am visiting a number of emergency departments that are meeting the national benchmark, including a completely revamped and very modern emergency department. I am having a look at that from a building perspective because our emergency departments are getting old and we need to ensure that the environment that staff are working in supports the productivity that we are going to need to ensure that we are improving our position and meeting national benchmarks in categories 3 and 4.

That is certainly what we are trying to do here. We are trying to achieve improved results. We are already seeing improved results in the emergency department. Based on the AIHW report to me, it is not enough in terms of timelines for categories 3 and 4. Access block has come right down from 40 per cent 18 months ago to 27 per cent in this quarter. They are measures directly as a result of increased resourcing to the emergency department and the access improvement plan. We are seeing improvements in the emergency department, but I accept—and I will not walk away from the responsibility—the need to address timeliness of access to care for categories 3 and 4 patients.

Arboretum

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Chief Minister and it relates to the arboretum. Chief Minister, on 18 December 2006 the Canberra Times reported that the planting at the arboretum had been put on hold due to drought and that planting would be delayed until at least the autumn. The Canberra Times quotes Professor Peter Kanowski, who is an adviser to the arboretum project, as saying:

My advice is that it is not a risk worth taking.

Chief Minister, today in your abortive attempt to censure me you told the Assembly, in relation to my statement on Tuesday, that you had not received advice not to plant trees. You said:

I received no such advice not to plant trees. That is not true

Chief Minister, did Professor Kanowski or anyone else advise you or your officials about the undesirability of planting trees at the arboretum during the drought? If so, by whom, when and in what form did you receive advice? Did you mislead the Assembly this morning in your statement that you had not received advice?

MR STANHOPE: I always enjoy these attempts by Mrs Dunne to rewrite history. Essentially, the motion of censure was withdrawn because of Mrs Dunne's abject and grovelling acknowledgement of the fact that she had misled and was aware that she had misled and, in the context of the motion and the speech I gave in relation to it, was aware of the appalling comparison between herself and Mr Seselja, a member


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