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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . .

Page.. 3258..

understand it, is travelling very well from both the budget point of view and a timing point of view. I look forward to seeing that road opened to ensure that our role as a regional centre is enhanced but also that people travelling from Gungahlin to the south side of Canberra are able to do so quickly and easily.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Chief Minister, why do you think Infrastructure Australia rejected the ACT government's request for funding for light rail, despite Julia Gillard being the Prime Minister at the time?

MS GALLAGHER: I do not know that they did reject the project itself. They certainly thought that more work needed to be done, which of course is the work that we are doing at the moment. I would also say that it took some time to convince Infrastructure Australia of the benefits of the Majura parkway. But luckily this government did and, once that was done and it was rated one of those top priorities by Infrastructure Australia, the funding flowed.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, can you advise of the transport benefits that the Majura parkway will deliver to Canberra and its region once it is completed.

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Dr Bourke for the question. As members would be aware, it is a $288 million investment in our regional transport network, jointly funded in 2011 by the commonwealth and ACT governments. As members would be aware, we argued for some time that this should be something that the commonwealth funded in its entirety, which is the approach they had taken to other jurisdictions. Unfortunately, we were not able to convince them of that, but the importance of the road and its priority for us were well known, and as a sign of good faith, in trying to secure some funding for that road, we offered to pay 50 per cent of it.

The Majura parkway will deliver 11½ kilometres of dual carriageway which connects the Monaro Highway with the Federal Highway. It is forecast to carry 40,000 vehicles a day, including up to 6,000 trucks by 2030. The new road will play a significant role in improving the movement of freight, both nationally and within our own region, by easing congestion.

Canberra Hospital—bed availability

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Health. On 11 September the executive director of the Canberra Hospital emergency department addressed staff concerns in an email entitled "Current ED issues". In this email it is reported that in May 2014 the Canberra Hospital implemented new bed audits to locate vacant beds. Bed audits are a process of phoning every ward every two to three hours and asking if there are any empty beds and also walking round the hospital twice every day to find empty beds. Minister, is phoning wards and walking around looking for empty beds the only way that a modern hospital can locate empty beds?

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