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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1946..


MR SESELJA: Chief Minister, at which of level of family income do you believe families no longer deserve to get concessions in relation to periodic payment of rego? At which level of family income do you believe families should have to pay the $100 penalty?

MS GALLAGHER: I think the Leader of the Opposition shows with that question his complete lack of insight and ignorance of the matters at hand and shows that he has not actually read the targeted assistance strategy, because that seeks to apply a new definition of "financial hardship"that is not necessarily about what a family's income might be at any period of time but that accepts that if you are in financial hardship, the government should be able to respond flexibly to meet your needs.

I would love this to turn into a little class debate about the who-gets and the who-doesn't-get, and that is what Mr Seselja was trying to generate here. But I am not going to go down that path. What I am going to say is that the members of the Assembly and leaders of this place I think should accept that if a family, an individual, a child, is in financial hardship, then it is our responsibility to make sure our systems are able to respond and provide them with the support they need.

That might mean for a short period of unemployment. It may mean that there has been an unexpected health cost. It may mean a large appliance had to be bought which meant they could not make another payment. There is a whole range of scenarios; it is not necessarily based on income. This is about targeting your assistance to those people when they need it—when they need it. I note the lack of interest from those opposite about a genuine discussion on this matter.

Canberra Hospital—emergency department data

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, on what date did you become aware of the conflict of interest that forced you to step aside from the investigation of the corrupted figures in the emergency department and the Directorate of Health, and when did you inform the Health Director-General of this conflict?

MS GALLAGHER: The answer to that question is I do not believe there is a conflict of interest. I have made the decision to hand over responsibility for the investigations into this matter based on a perception of a potential conflict of interest. I know you do not like it, but that is the reality. As I said in my ministerial statement—

Mr Seselja interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: Mr Seselja, you have had your chance.

Mr Seselja interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja!

MS GALLAGHER: I have answered the question.


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