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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 8 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2976..


Mr Smyth: But there are pre-election documents, even though you have said there were only conversations?

MS GALLAGHER: Sorry, I didn't catch all of that. I have been very clear on this. I have been very clear that there were discussions before the election around the potential sale of Calvary Public Hospital to the ACT government, and that those discussions continued with my involvement up until the caretaker period. Between the caretaker period and the government forming again in November, I had no involvement in any discussions—and, indeed, no decisions were taken that would bind any future government, if the Canberra people had been so silly as to elect those opposite to these benches, which they, in turn, thankfully, did not.

Post the election, the discussions with the government continued. But during that pre-election period, the caretaker period for the month after the election, there were some discussions between ACT Health and the Little Company of Mary, just to keep it moving along. It did not move very far, I have to say, during that time; in fact, I would not be surprised if it did not move anywhere at all, because by the time I picked it up again in November, that was the point at which we started moving forward with this again.

I do not know what your concern is here. The government has not taken a decision. We did not take a decision that was going to bind any future government, had you been elected to government, which you were not, thankfully. But if you had been, it would have been very easy to walk away from this without a concern or care in the world. No decision has been taken yet. The valuations have not been received. The government has not received a heads of agreement. There has been no final decision made by the government about whether or not this can proceed. There it is; it is all there for you. There is no conspiracy. There is nothing to be worried about. No deal has been done.

But we do stand here, as a government, and say that if we can, we would like to buy Calvary Public Hospital. We think it would be good for the long-term interests of this community for that asset to sit on the ACT balance sheet, to be owned and operated by a public authority. Having regard to the considerable amount of capital investment that is going to be required, and if it is to go into that public hospital, it should therefore remain an asset of the ACT community. At this point in time, it does not. So our cards are all on the table. They are there for everyone to see. Opposition for opposition's sake; no position, no idea, no views, no constructive assistance—nothing. Zero, zilch, nothing. At some point in time, if we are able to bring the Calvary appropriation bill to this Assembly, I wonder if they will vote again to deny themselves the opportunity to vote on it, just like they have done on the budget.

Budget—plan

MS PORTER: My question is to the Treasurer. For the information of members, can the Treasurer outline the government's budget plan to return the budget to surplus as outlined in the 2009-10 budget papers.

MS GALLAGHER: I can outline the plan, because—


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