Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 8 Hansard (10 August) . .
an enormous amount of criticism about the health system. I have spoken of a lot of that criticism. It has come from doctors groups, from nurses groups, from patients. We have the lowest patient satisfaction rating for ED in Australia.
Nobody thinks that the health system is performing as it should. Let me be very clear at the outset that that is not because of a lack of goodwill and hard work by the staff. It is a failure of administration by this government, a failure to back our staff up. The fact that this government has failed to back the Canberra Liberals' announcements today shows just how little they really care, when it comes down to it, about staff at the Canberra Hospital.
Back in 2011, in the lead-up to the last election, the Labor Party, under the stewardship of Katy Gallagher, now Senator Gallagher, promised to rebuild the Canberra Hospital—$800 million. They took that into the election—indeed, to such a point that they put $41 million in the budget. This was not just some notional promise; $41 million was in the budget. We talked about it in estimates. We talked about it in health hearings. We talked about it in the Assembly. There were press releases put out, much grand fanfare. I received briefings—I think one or two briefings—on the need for this. I have to say that I concurred. It was a significant amount of money, but the case was put to me that, because of demand, because of the ageing infrastructure, it needed to be done. I accepted that case at that time.
As we know, the history is that after the election in 2012 this government ripped that money out of the budget. They fumbled along for a while. As late as 2014, Senator Gallagher was still saying that this was going to happen, that the money was in the budget, that the money had been found. Let me read the answer to a question that Mrs Jones asked in early 2014. Ms Gallagher said that the money was there. She said:
I think the budget has shown the preparedness of this government to make provision for large infrastructure projects. We have made provision, and we have also made space within the budget to fund those projects.
The money was there. The plan was there, and the Labor Party dropped it. It was very disappointing. I note that the Nursing Federation put out a press release today saying that ANMF welcomes the Liberals' proposed $403 million expansion of the Canberra Hospital. I will read from it: "The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation ACT Branch has welcomed today's announcement by the Liberal Party to effectively implement the Labor Party's 2012 Canberra Hospital expansion platform." They go on at some length—if I have time, I will go back to it—about concerns that they have with the health system, concerns that they have raised.
I do not shy away from the fact that what we have released today is based on what Labor had up until 2014. It is based on that. That is an enormous amount of work that has been done in the Health Directorate—good work that has been done by a lot of professionals to come up with the best plan, the best way ahead. I do not shy away from that, and if I have time I will go back to some of the concerns. It says here that the AMNF was so concerned in respect of an increase in the number of reports of unsafe work conditions and practice across ACT Health that on 5 April this year it called on the ACT government to take action.
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