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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 9 Hansard (27 September) . . Page.. 2780..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

emergency departments in the ACT was one hour and 50 minutes—the lowest in the country. So we have the most efficient treatment times in the country. What does that mean? What it means is that more people can be seen. If you are efficient in treating people, you can see more people. That is an immediate outcome of the access improvement program.

Access block—bed block; the issue that Mrs Burke always enjoys talking about—is down, and it is trending down further. In 2006-07 it was 28.6 per cent, down from the 33 per cent in 2005-06 and well below the 41 per cent reported in 2004-05. So access block is on the way down as a result of these initiatives. Similarly, surgery cancellation rates, which are also an indication of access block—if your surgery is cancelled it is because there is no bed for recovery after surgery—have also fallen. For the fourth quarter of 2006-07 the cancellation rate fell to eight per cent, which was a considerable improvement on the 13 per cent for the previous quarter.

These are concrete examples of the work this government is doing—not just "the rhetoric starts here", which we hear from Mrs Burke, but real policies making a difference and improving access.

Emergency services—FireLink

MR PRATT: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services while he is still hot. Minister, it was recently revealed that the management of the ESA failed to provide significant amounts of information to the Auditor-General during her inquiry into the FireLink system. Minister, why was information withheld? Have you sought an explanation as to the behaviour of ESA management?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. Yes, I can tell you why that information was not made immediately available. It was because it was not properly filed; it was not properly kept. Records were not properly kept, Mr Speaker. The previous commissioner failed to ensure there was proper recordkeeping in place to ensure that those records could be easily accessed. We had to rely on the previous commissioner's personal knowledge of where the papers were stashed rather than having an appropriate recordkeeping system in place.

It is an indictment of the poor management practices of the previous commissioner and the previous authority that the only way those records could be found was based on the personal knowledge of the previous commissioner. Why was not there an adequate and comprehensive recordkeeping system in place so we did not have to rely on where the papers were squirreled away at the bottom of some filing cabinet somewhere?

That is the issue that was commented on by the Auditor-General and commented on by the independent reviews of the ESA. That is why that documentation was not available. I am pleased to say, though, that the Auditor-General found that this in no way compromised her ability to undertake her audit. She made that clear in her audit report. She made it clear that there was no substantive impact on the breadth or the—

Mr Mulcahy: Must be a fast reader.


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