Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1566 ..
MS FITZHARRIS: No particular advice other than broad advice around the government's efforts to increase access to elective surgery for Canberrans. That is why, as I have mentioned on a number of occasions, there has been a $6.4 million investment to bring down elective surgery wait times in this current financial year.
I would note that all national performance indicators measure performance on hospitals based on full financial year figures. Those full financial year figures are not yet available because the financial year has not yet concluded.
MRS DUNNE: Minister, how many children in Canberra are waiting for a year to see a specialist before they get on the official waiting list?
MS FITZHARRIS: I will take that specific question on notice.
Answers to questions on notice—costs
MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Chief Minister and relates to the new practice of including time and cost accounting at the bottom of answers to questions on notice. When and why did this practice begin? Are the totals going to appear in annual reports?
MR BARR: Yes, the government has put in place this additional reporting of the cost of compiling answers to questions on notice. The timing is roughly in line with the new requirements under FOI for the publishing of a whole variety of pieces of information. The government felt that in that spirit it would be appropriate to have an estimate of the dollar cost based on the amount of time it takes to answer those questions.
MS LE COUTEUR: Given what you said, is this practice going to extend to other areas of provision of government information like fix my street inquiries, freedom of information requests and constituent correspondence to ministers?
MR BARR: In a number of those areas, yes, costings are and were previously standard practice, particularly in relation to FOI, for those who, under the old arrangements, would not automatically have an entitlement to receive information for free. It is simply a recording and accountability measure. Generally speaking, people are in favour of more data being publicly available.
MR COE: Chief Minister, if questions are not lodged from this place, does that mean that these people would be sacked, or are these in fact sunk costs?
MR BARR: The ACT government directorates maintain a large number of staff for whom the vast majority of their time is spent responding to questions on notice.
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. On 15 August 2017 you advised the Assembly that "Canberra Hospital emergency