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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 May 1995) . . Page.. 334 ..


perhaps we are focusing a bit too much on the costing issues, and not spreading it across the system; but then he also makes the point that Woden Valley Hospital really has been the big problem, the big cost driver, and it is understandable that a lot of the effort was put into looking at costs at Woden.

There really is not much of contention in this statement. There is an acknowledgment by Mrs Carnell that Labor had done basically all of the first year's implementation work in respect of Andersen, contrary to what she said in here the other day; but we will just put that aside as a rhetorical flourish rather than any attempt to state other than facts to the house. It is in the ministerial statement here that all would be done, and we had done it. There is a welcome breath of reality in the Chief Minister's rhetoric about casemix; an acknowledgment that casemix is but a tool, a very useful tool, in the health matrix. That being said, there is really nothing in the statement. It is a recital of what had been done in implementing the Andersen review. Again, I think it is common ground between the parties that that was the major and best look at Health in the ACT.

The only thing that is new in this is that, gee whiz, we are going to have another consultancy. Mrs Carnell, you made an awful lot of political capital about health over the last three years. You were constantly expressing shock and horror about the waiting list, and shock and horror about Health and individual cases; appearing on television at the bedside of individual patients; and saying that everything would be solved if you were to become Chief Minister. You are Chief Minister and Health Minister, and you are going to have to adopt a much more sophisticated approach now than the hollow rhetoric you adopted in opposition. It is encouraging that in this statement you are abandoning most of that hollow rhetoric you expressed in opposition. Your rhetoric about casemix while in opposition, and to some extent in question time and other forums here, has now become a very reasoned statement about casemix, pointing out that casemix as a funder is a major problem. Casemix as an information tool upon which you can then make decisions is very useful.

Mrs Carnell: That is not true. Casemix funding.

MR CONNOLLY: You can call it casemix funding in order to satisfy your political rhetoric, if you like; but the point is that you acknowledge here that if casemix is used just as a funder it is a problem; that casemix used as a management tool can be of great benefit and we should do that, and we agree.

At the end of the day, though, Mr Speaker, the worrying thing for the people of Canberra, who listened to the then Opposition Leader's rhetoric over three years and saw the great promises of 1,000 more patients and 50 more beds, all of this in the context of reducing funding for Health, in the order of some $30m, is that in this document there is nothing that indicates that those issues are being addressed. What is disturbing, despite all the pleasant rhetoric, is the warning at the end about tough and harsh decisions that are to be made, presumably in the context of a budget which is yet to be delivered. That is the worry; that you have not indicated here how you are going to deliver what we always saw as undeliverable promises.


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