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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1686..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

it in every budget that we have handed down, and you will see it in the budget that I am about to hand down in the next quarter of an hour. I think it is an approach and an attitude that has been welcomed by everybody other than the Liberal opposition in this place.

Visitor

MR SPEAKER: I take this opportunity to point out to members that Mick Gentleman, a former member of the Assembly, is in the gallery today, and I welcome him back to the Assembly.

Questions without notice

Hospitals—funding

MS PORTER: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the minister update the Assembly on the national health and hospital network agreement agreed to by first ministers at last month's COAG meeting?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Porter for the question. Indeed, it is a very important question on a very important issue. The deal struck between first ministers and treasurers at COAG last month ushers in a new era of certainty for states and territories when it comes to the commonwealth's share of funding of public hospitals. Throughout the decade of Liberal Party rule nationally under John Howard, the commonwealth's share of funding for our public hospitals headed in one direction, as we all know, and one direction only—that is, down.

Ms Gallagher: Down!

MR STANHOPE: Down, down, down. That meant that the ACT government, determined to meet the growth in demand for hospital services for the people of Canberra, has funded an ever-increasing share of hospital funding. Our share at the moment is around about 70 per cent on a split with the commonwealth, the commonwealth providing around 30 per cent. That split has to be acknowledged in the context of an increasing share from the commonwealth since the change of government federally just two years ago. So you can imagine how bad it was for 10 years of Liberal Party rule.

I think it is fair to say that at the time John Howard left the position of Prime Minister the commonwealth was funding growth at around about five per cent when states and territories, averaged across the nation, were funding growth at around about nine per cent. Last month at the COAG meeting for the first time the commonwealth locked in its share of funding of our public hospitals. It is the first time that this has happened and that is why this agreement is so important and so historic.

Over time, the commonwealth will fund 60 per cent of the efficient price of all public hospital services delivered to public patients, and it is locked in. From 2014, it will pick up 60 per cent of the growth in the cost of hospitals too. The commonwealth has also formally assumed funding and policy responsibility for GPs and other forms of primary health care as well as aged care. The reforms that make up the agreement


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