Page 4263 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 October 1991

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Health Centres - Staffing

MRS NOLAN: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Berry in his capacity as Minister for Health. Can he tell this Assembly: How many staff positions are to be abolished in ACT health centres, from which centres will these positions be abolished and what effect will this have on service delivery?

MR BERRY: I think I have answered this question.

Ms Follett: Health centres.

MR BERRY: Health centres are part of the overall health budget. The health budget has been the subject of discussion in the Estimates Committee, and I think the opportunity was available to the member to ask those sorts of questions there.

I have indicated before to this Assembly that the Board of Health has taken on board the Government's budget and has indicated that it can live within it. The Board of Health is responsible for the administration of health centres. It has shown that it has a management program, in relation to hospital beds, which is a responsible one, and it is a direction that the board will take in accordance with the Government's position on the budget. The process of dealing with that is likely to be interfered with by the committee which Mr Humphries proposed, the first decision of which was to travel, I note, which demonstrates its interest in matters in the ACT.

Relevant unions have to be consulted in relation to the implementation of the Government's budget. That process is well under way and will continue until it is finalised. It will be some time before we have the final detail of the way that service delivery might be changed by the Government's budget and the Government's policies on social justice. So, we really have to wait until that consultation process develops more. I just urge you to be patient.

MRS NOLAN: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker: When is that process likely to be completed?

MR BERRY: That is a matter for the board.

Ambulance Service

MR STEFANIAK: My question, which is to the Minister for Health, concerns the Harris ambulance affair. All I require is a simple yes or no. The question is: Was the ambulance officer who was the subject of the Macdonald inquiry a union official? Was he known to the Minister before the incident occurred?

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