Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (3 Junes) . . Page.. 1669..
Also, there is an inability for the councils to recover some of this revenue as their rates are capped. So there is very limited ability for them to raise their own revenue. All of the local mayors were very concerned about the impact of the job reductions as well. The Queanbeyan City Council mayor is predicting losses in the order of 500 from the Queanbeyan region and I know the mayors in Palerang and Yass were also believing that there would be significant job losses from their local constituencies.
So this is not just an impact that hurts Canberra. If Canberra does not do well, the surrounding region will also suffer. As a region, we have all agreed to stay together and to lobby our federal members and the commonwealth government to ensure that there is a reasonable amount of support provided to the region.
Unfortunately, my meeting yesterday with the Prime Minister would indicate that—my take-home message was, "Canberra, you are on your own. There is nothing we will do to support you. We may consider support for the surrounding region if that can be justified."But in terms of any support for our local economy, we are going to have to manage on our own.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Berry.
MS BERRY: Chief Minister, with the major cuts in the budget to health funding, what was the impact of the federal budget on the future of the national health reform agreement?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Berry for the supplementary. In relation to the national health reform agreement, essentially it was torn up on federal budget day. The commitments that were contained in that agreement, which provided commitments around funding guarantees, indexation arrangements and payment for interstate patients, were all removed by the federal government. None of those commitments now stand, and that is what has contributed to a large part of the funding reduction that we would have expected under the national health reform agreement.
Forty million dollars of that is directly attributable to the removal of the funding guarantee. I mentioned this to the Prime Minister yesterday. The position this forces us to, early, is to have a discussion about what services we can and will provide in Canberra if we cannot make certain health services economically stack up—that is, if they are inefficient because the volume is not high enough. They are the sorts of decisions we will have to take now about whether or not we continue with them, because that funding guarantee allowed us a continuation of those services, particularly the ones that would not, from an economic point of view, be seen as efficient, but which, probably from an individual point of view, in receiving that treatment, were very well received.
In a practical sense, the $40 million equates to just under 3,000 elective surgery operations and about 390 nursing positions. Clearly, this was not a situation where we could, three weeks out from our budget, just turn the tap off and decide that all of those cuts would be absorbed within the health system. It would have thrown it into
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