Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1567..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
required to provide an accurate assessment of the longer term sustainability of the budget position.
We said we would do it and we have done it. What is remarkable in this question is not so much that we have done what we said we would do. What is remarkable is that, despite hearing the shadow Treasurer quote—I have heard him on a number of occasions so I presume it has been discussed in the Liberal Party party room on a number of occasions, particularly when they were drafting this question—that is precisely the figure or the result that Mr Mulcahy has been talking about, in some ignorance I do admit. It was quite clear yesterday, for instance, that he did not have a clue what he was talking about and we see it again today in the asking of this question.
The numbers are there in the budget for all the world to see. We did precisely what we said we would do. We have shown in three separate configurations the budget position against the Australian accounting standards, against an operating balance consistent with GFS, and GFS consistent with the UPF statements. There are three variations in the presentation. There are three presentations here of the operating position.
You have not got a clue what you are talking about, and this question illustrates the fact that you have not got a clue what you are talking about. The wonder Treasurer of the century has shown himself to be incredibly brittle over the last couple of days in relation to his understanding of these sorts of basic accounting treatments and indeed in his suggestion that the way to deal with issues in relation to the health portfolio is to simply cut $61 million out of the Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital. We all heard it yesterday: $61 million to be cut, not out of health but out of the public hospitals—$61 million to be cut, under the Liberal Party under Richard Mulcahy, from health.
MS MacDONALD: My question is to Ms Gallagher in her capacity as Minister for Health. Minister, could you update the Assembly on the progress of negotiations on a new ACT public sector nursing staff agreement?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms MacDonald for her question and for the opportunity to inform the Assembly of the fact that the government has reached in-principle agreement with the Australian Nursing Federation on a new union collective agreement for public sector nurses and midwives. I would like at the outset to acknowledge the efforts of the ANF to work in a spirit of cooperation throughout the negotiations between ACT Health and the union to deliver an agreement which I think is historic in the sense that not even the threat of industrial action was raised throughout this process.
It has been quite a lengthy process. It has been ongoing since October and the negotiations have been difficult, as they always are when you are trying to deliver outcomes that suit the government's priorities as well as the union's priorities. But I am pleased to say that we announced to staff today by email through a joint communique by ACT Health and the union that we have reached agreement in principle. Importantly from the government's point of view, we have managed to