Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 494..
MS MacDONALD (continuing):
Mrs Burke has also stated in relation to the government's plan for the future of our health infrastructure that we do not need spaceships and brainwaves. The development of new types of operating theatres and state-of-the-art neurosurgery services, I would suggest, is not something that we should be making jokes about.
What is the alternative that Mrs Burke is proposing? Let us open 100 beds and that will fix everything for now and ever more—I do not think so. She has no ideas about where the beds should be or what type of beds are needed, no ideas about the new ways to provide services that provide better outcomes for patients and no comments about the adoption of emerging technology to improve services and patient safety.
In relation to the final point of Mr Mulcahy's motion, the minister has already detailed that this a far-reaching vision and one that still has some consultation to come and calls on facilities to be ready for a peak in demand by 2020. That sort of timetable reinforces this government's desire to plan not for the next election or the next leadership spell on the other side but for a health system that will benefit and serve all Canberrans for the next 20 years. Mr Deputy Speaker, we do not want to put in place short-term facilities will not stand up to the test of time, facilities like Quamby or the PSU. We are making a plan that will deliver for the people of the ACT.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.45): I will just be brief on these matters. You can have these debates about statistics. I know members pick different sets of statistics to justify the position they adopt in this place. The minister continues to put a lot of focus on the answer to reducing waiting times as being more funding. But the point I continue to make is that we must also be looking at efficiency gains.
There have been some changes in relation to the utilisation of theatre, but there are also industrial reforms there that might more accurately mirror what goes on at John James. Unless I am out of touch with some recent changes, there was still a significant advantage being enjoyed by John James in relation to utilisation of their surgeries as opposed to the Canberra Hospital. It all points to the fact that there are many areas in which you can increase efficiency. The answer is not always just money.
I knew it would be only a matter of weeks before the new federal government would embrace the Treasury approach to dealing with state governments and territory governments, and that is to use that magical word "no". We have seen it happen accordingly. I think, rather naively, the state Labor governments thought that they would go off and meet with the commonwealth and they would just get a tick. Of course, we are seeing that life is not as simple as it was first thought. I am sure we are going to see the same thing with technical education and general education and a host of other things where the commonwealth has its hands on the much sought after cheque book.
The data, which I have cited, does contradict the minister's view that Canberra Hospital rivals any other hospital in Australia. But I would also reject the rather foolish notion put forward by Mrs Burke that we are somehow living in a third world country. I do not know where Mrs Burke has travelled to, but she might want to undertake a study tour of somewhere such as a third world country and she will soon