Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 November 2022) . . Page.. 3964 ..
and wellbeing, and understanding the mental health and wellbeing needs of our First Nations community. We will continue working on this, and I will continue to share our progress with the Assembly.
I would like to close by assuring our Canberra community that evidence-based investment in mental health services continues, with a focus on prevention, early intervention and community delivered care, as well as meeting the need for acute care services and supporting the needs of those most at risk in our community. That is why I will not support Ms Castley’s motion today.
MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (3.46), in reply: Mr Assistant Speaker, I am not at all surprised. I knew that this would happen when I came in here. It is the minister’s way to say that I do not know what I am talking about. I am wondering, though, whether she also feels the same way about the federal AMA and the AIHW, as that is where I got these figures from for today’s motion—and, of course, the government’s budget papers.
You cannot skew my figures and say I am wrong when you reference a different reporting period. To be clear, we are going from 2012-13 through to 2018-19, to prove that, before COVID, significant underfunding was occurring from this Labor-Greens government. There is no getting away from the fact that the budget papers do show that our health system has increased in funding by only 3.3 per cent, excluding the commonwealth figures, while we see that inflation has gone up by 4.3 per cent.
The commonwealth funding has increased by 9.2 per cent per year. The RoGS report, at table 12A.2, shows that the recurrent expenditure per person for public hospitals in the ACT is minus 3.6 per cent. It is simple; if something costs a certain amount and increases by 4.3 per cent each year in costs, your budget must reflect that.
I note that the minister did not respond with regard to the lack of beds, referencing the 150 extra beds that it was forecast we would need by 2021. If the hospital and healthcare system had been properly funded, we might have had those beds right now, but we do not. We have less than what we need. That is a significant number, and it is a disappointment to Canberrans.
We have people with hernias that pop out of their belly button, waiting for 700 days for an operation, and when they email the minister, they get a “good luck and hope it goes well”, but still no appointment to have an operation done. We have nurses, as I said before, afraid that they may pass by someone in a bed in the hallway who has passed away. I also mentioned the people leaving ED because they could not wait any longer for treatment.
The minister did not come back to any of these points in my speech. As I say, it is interesting where they get their figures and where we get our figures from. I can tell you that we know that only 39.7 per cent of patients received treatment within clinically recommended time frames. Something is going wrong here, and I find it astounding that the government stands up again and says, “There’s nothing to see.”