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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3139..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

$5 million which Mr Smyth has promised to reinstate to the tourism budget and not to account, of course, for the ambiguous position of Mrs Dunne on the removal of the water abstraction charge.

I think at the heart of this is the humbug and the double standard of the shadow Treasurer. He is out there railing against the accounting standard, saying that it is not a true surplus but a paper surplus and then saying that we can do without it. The Liberals are intent on driving us straight into deficit. (Time expired.)

Canberra Hospital—proposed psychiatric unit

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: I thought I would just ask the first question.

MR SPEAKER: I am sorry.

MR SMYTH: I know it was a long-winded answer from the Chief Minister; it felt like two or three questions.

MR SPEAKER: It is hard to keep one's mind focused in the cacophony which has been created by the opposition.

MR SMYTH: I sympathise with you having to listen to it, Mr Speaker. My question is to the Acting Minister for Health. Minister, I refer to the announcement today of the request for tenders that has been prepared for a new psychiatric unit at the Canberra Hospital. Minister, on 20 September 2005, you announced, and I quote from your press release:

... we are planning for 20 acute beds for young people ... 30 acute adult beds and a 15 bed high security unit at the TCH by 2008.

That is a total of 65 beds. Minister, why has your government decided today reduce the number of beds in this proposed psychiatric unit from 65 to only 40 beds?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Smyth for the question. Mr Speaker, the proposed psychiatric unit is a very significant investment by the Labor government. It is designed to redress the enormous failing that is the existing psychiatric services unit at the Canberra Hospital. That facility is pretty much around a decade old, and it is already out of date. Why is it out of date, Mr Speaker? In fact, it has been out of date for some time because of poor planning and development under the administration of the previous government.

The existing PSU has been condemned by the coroner on a number of occasions for being an inherently unsafe design for both patients and staff. When did this occur, Mr Speaker? It occurred during the time when Mr Smyth and his colleagues sat on this side of the chamber and Mr Moore was the Liberal Minister for Health. That is why we have committed to address these concerns and invest in a major new mental health precinct, including a new psychiatric services unit. We should not be in a position where a building less than 10 years old has to be replaced, but we are because of the poor management and the poor planning from those opposite.


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