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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 2 May 1995) . . Page.. 43 ..


MS HORODNY: I ask a supplementary question. How can the Government defend this position in the light of budgetary constraints that it believes to be so severe?

MRS CARNELL: We believe that this will be budget-positive for the ACT. The ACT will do very nicely, thank you, out of the Kingston foreshore site. As we know perfectly well, the problem with the Acton site, if used for something like the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia, the museum or any other national or community purpose, was that it could not be sold. From that perspective, it was worth very little in dollar terms. It had an incredible usage potential, it had a very definite value to the ACT in a cultural sense; but it had no dollar value. The difference with Kingston is that we can now go ahead with an exciting cultural and arts precinct. We will be able to use the old powerhouse for all sorts of different things. The imagination is the only limit to the sorts of things. So, the issue is that we have exchanged a site that simply had no dollar value for a site that has a quite substantial dollar value.

Visiting Medical Officers - Contracts

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister as Minister for Health, and I ask her: What is the breakdown in dollars of any changes from fee-for-service to sessional contracts?

MRS CARNELL: I am not 100 per cent sure what Mr Wood actually means by a breakdown in dollars and whether he means this on a specialty by specialty basis. As I said to Mr Connolly, I will be very happy to make all of those figures available as soon as we get signatures on the dotted line. At this stage, as I have made quite clear, contracts are out with the VMOs, as they should be. We believe that the ones that have not already been signed will be signed in the next two weeks, at which stage I will, with pride, make all the documentation available to everyone in this Assembly.

MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question. I would have thought that Mrs Carnell would know what savings she is going to make or would claim to make. Can she add to that documentation she is promising further details that follow from the computer model which the Department of Health maintains, which sets out the dollar cost by specialty of existing contract arrangements? Will she table that information at the same time, please?

MRS CARNELL: I am extremely happy to, Mr Wood; but what we have done since those times of the previous Government when the whole problem just got worse and could not be solved has been to take a much more lateral approach and a much more successful approach. We have added to the negotiations substantial requirements for efficiencies, for savings in areas such as the sorts of hips that orthopaedic surgeons may or may not buy, and throughput through theatres. Those sorts of issues have now been added. The bottom line, though, Mr Wood - and I am very proud to say it - is that the ACT will save $2m from these negotiations and not one patient has been flown to Sydney.

Mr Berry: Will you table it?

MRS CARNELL: I am very happy to table it. I assume that the Public Accounts Committee will look at this in depth. We have always assumed that it would.


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