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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2381..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

nurses. If you are not sure about what is going on in the hospital that you are responsible for as part of the cabinet, go and speak to impacted nurses and you will get the real truth.

The problem is that, until we get an acknowledgement from the government that the model that they have adopted has set the system back, you can have as much health reform as you want. In 2001 when we left office, the elective surgery waiting list was 3,488. It has gone up every month since. It has gone up. It peaked under Mr Corbell—who was an absolute failure of a health minister—when it broke 5,000. It has come down slightly through administrative means. But we are tinkering on the edges until we guarantee more beds. The AIHW report says that we have the lowest number of beds per capita in the country; as a consequence, we have some of the worst and lowest outcomes in the country.

The minister says that, yes, we have replaced Mr Smyth's 100 beds. She likes my obsession with the 100 beds. The reality is that we would probably need closer to 200 beds to make the average. But we do not have in place a concrete plan to meet this long-term target of 85 per cent in a sustainable way. And therein lies the dilemma. We can talk about beds. We can talk about the beds that the government has brought online—for instance, in the step-down facility, which includes rehabilitation beds, which are not acute medical and are not surgical—and we can fudge the figures. But the proof of the pudding will always be in the long-term rate.

If we look at the history of the delivery of capital works inside the health department, we can have no faith that, under a Labor government and a Labor health minister, they will deliver timely capital works to meet the needs of the people of the ACT. I have a press release proudly issued by the then minister for health, Mr Corbell, about a psychiatric precinct at the hospital that was to be operational in 2008. If you go to page 122 of budget paper No 3, Mr Speaker, you will see that we have forward design for projects like an adult mental health acute inpatient unit and a high-security mental health inpatient unit. But where is the youth unit that Mr Corbell talked about? Gone. Given that we are only doing forward design and there is no money appropriated in this budget for the construction of these facilities, this facility will not open in 2008.

At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put and passed.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.00 pm.

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