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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 621..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

and there is potentially a significant impact on ACT government revenues, most particularly if the housing market similarly softens. We do not see that in the immediate term; we believe there is still significant demand. But there is a real risk to our revenue. We depend so heavily on property-based conveyance and stamp duty, and any softening will potentially have an impact. But, as I say, our budget and our balance sheet are better placed than at any time in the history of the ACT to meet those risks.

I am advised by my colleague that earlier I referred to a figure of $4,000. I am sure everybody knows this figure by heart: the average standard mortgage has increased by $4,400 a year, or $367 a month. I think I reversed those figures. I am sure everybody would know by now, by heart, what the numbers are. I will keep mentioning them just to remind people.

Health—public services

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, could you update the Assembly on the new and enhanced surgical services at the Canberra Hospital?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. The government is committed to increasing the services available to the ACT community within our public health system. As well as the planning work underway for the long term that I have already spoken of, we have put in place short and medium-term investments to increase and improve services. Initiatives like the access improvement program, increased investment in elective surgery, 147 additional beds that this government has put in place to replace the 114 beds that were removed under the previous government—

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: I note from the tabling of that document yesterday that it has been very quiet over there about the 200 beds supposedly cut by Labor under the previous administration. It has been very quiet. There have been no interjections around 200 bed cuts, because they cannot prove it and there is no evidence. What there is evidence of in that report is the 114 beds that were cut under the Carnell years, under the Carnell-Smith-Stefaniak years in government—114 beds lost to the system—and 147 replaced by this government. We have more nurses and doctors than ever before. We have opened new units which other jurisdictions are following, such as the MAPU unit and the subacute facilities at Calvary. We have opened additional theatres and all of these have seen improved performance and led to record levels of throughput, neither of which those opposite can deny—improved performance and record levels of throughput.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: I can hear from the interjections from those opposite that this is stuff that they do not want to hear. They are not interested in improvements in the health system. They are not interested in listening about where services are


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