Page 306 - Week 01 - Thursday, 14 February 1991

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

Private Hospital Development

MR JENSEN: Mr Speaker, my question is directed to Mr Humphries, in his capacity as Minister for Health. I wonder whether the Minister can advise the Assembly why, in fact, he is proposing to continue to persist with the development of a private hospital on the north side of Canberra.

MR HUMPHRIES: Thank you, Mr Jensen, for that question. Despite having higher levels of private health insurance than the Australian average, Canberra has the smallest proportion of acute hospital beds in private hospitals. This means that the people of Canberra are required to finance a public hospital service that is proportionately larger than those of other States and Territories, which places, of course, an unacceptable burden on ACT taxpayers.

The Commonwealth Labor Government recognised this problem in 1986, and approved a trebling of private hospital beds from 91 to 270. It is clear that it had more understanding and foresight than the present Labor Opposition in this Assembly. The Alliance Government has raised this approval level to around 300 as a target for the year 2000 - hardly a massive increase, Mr Speaker. This reflects population growth projections since 1986. The new private hospital, which is to be constructed and operated at no cost to the ACT budget, will complement the John James Hospital on the south side of Canberra. It will expand the choices available to people living north of Lake Burley Griffin, and will operate, I would expect, in harmony with Calvary Hospital.

It will have the ability to attract medical specialists to Canberra; and it can be expected that these people will contribute significantly to both the private and public sectors of health. Expanded private facilities will take some pressure off our public hospitals, as private patients will be able to elect to be treated in a private hospital. This will produce a capacity in our public hospitals for the treatment of larger numbers of Medicare patients. The land on which it will be constructed is designated for such a use; and the hospital and its associated developments will greatly enhance the amenity of the area. Formal submissions will close on 6 March this year, and I expect construction of this new hospital to commence shortly thereafter.

Public Works Contracts

MRS GRASSBY: My question is to Mr Duby. Will the Minister tell the Assembly what checks are made by his department to ensure that monthly progress payments in public works project management contracts are carried out, after major contractors have been paid for work done in the previous month?

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .