Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 October 2022) . . Page.. 2972 ..
it. I do not wish to be sycophantic. But, when you come in here with dramatisations and hyperbole in spite of having been provided information to the contrary as recently as just before this debate, it is infuriating. Canberra parents, in particular, who should trust that they can get world-class health care at TCH for their young people, should be particularly disturbed by these sorts of political machinations.
MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (4.06): As I mentioned in my opening speech, the Labor-Greens government promised Canberra 10 years ago that there would be a paediatric emergency wing—10 years ago. This is what was needed 10 years ago. We are 10 years down the track and it did not grow. It did not get bigger; it just got mothballed and is not operational 100 per cent of the time.
I turn to Mr Davis’s comment on the media release title. I was not going to address any of that, but I have it here. I can email it to you, if you like. The title of the media release was—
Dr Paterson: Point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Ms Castley is talking directly to Mr Davis, rather than through the chair.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Dr Paterson. I would ask you to direct your comments through the chair, please, Ms Castley.
MS CASTLEY: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I appreciate Dr Paterson pulling me up on that—very important! Mr Davis commented on the title of my media release, saying that I was telling Canberrans that the emergency paediatric department was closed, when, in fact—and I can email it to all of the members of the Assembly, if they like—the title is, “Paediatric emergency wing at the Canberra Hospital must operate at full capacity”. Nothing at all in that title indicates that it is closed. That is not a scaremongering title; it is the truth. I go back to the election promise of 2012 that we still do not have fully functioning here. It is a disappointment and a concern to Canberran families that the government have said, “This level of care is a dedicated emergency department for kids,” and they have gone back on that and said that that does not happen.
As far as the committee briefing today goes, I did hear it. What I heard was that 10 years ago the government promised something and has been unable to adequately staff this, so now it is not running at full capacity. My concern is that the people who are let down today the most are our sick kids and our parents and carers who are going to ED who do not have that much-needed facility, that much-needed wing, that the Labor government said they needed and promised them that they would have. They just do not have that 100 per cent of the time.
These are not cheap political points; these are valid concerns of Canberra parents and carers. If it was important enough for Minister Katy Gallaher to set up this wing then it is important enough to keep it running today 100 per cent of the time. I too have spoken to clinicians, and they have expressed how important this is to them and to our kids. I refuse to believe that the amendment moved by this government is the best they can do. They must get the settings right. They must get the basics right, and that is not happening here today. So the Canberra Liberals will not support the amendment put forward by the minister. It is simply not good enough.