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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 931..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

not actually belong to one or other of the hospitals. That is an effective way to provide very costly equipment across the couple of major hospitals in town.

Should we close the sterilisation service down, we would leave ourselves in a situation where each of those units may well have to provide itself with a full suite of equipment, which may or may not be needed from time to time, and that would be quite expensive. I am informed, again, that that equipment is very expensive. I am even informed that when some of the equipment is only used occasionally, it is transported down from Sydney and sent back. That is how expensive the stuff is. It is cheaper, effectively, to transport it and hire it than it is to buy it and keep it.

So, there are some sound commercial reasons for wanting to keep this going. That is the basis behind what I have said. A year ago it chewed and chewed money, partly because it had some very poor contracts outside the ACT.

MR CORNWELL: I have a supplementary question. Why would the workers in the linen service take any comfort from the promise that the linen service would continue "no matter what"when, even last year-again, at page 128 of the estimates Hansard-you went on to say, "This is a service that at this point at least is a necessary service within the territory, and we might be able to find some alternative if we disaggregated the whole thing. But in the short to mid term it is necessary."

Why would the workers in the linen service take comfort in your promise, "It will continue no matter what,"considering what has happened to other Totalcare workers?

MR QUINLAN: I still remain bemused by the fact that Mr Cornwell defends the workers of Totalcare. It strikes me as the ultimate irony.

Mr Smyth: Why?

MR QUINLAN: Because it was quite clearly stated by one of the union reps this morning on radio that all of the workers had known that it was set up by the previous government and set up to fail.

To a large extent, Mr Cornwell, you answered your own question when you quoted what I said last year that in the short to medium term it is absolutely essential. We need to keep it because there is no alternative in the short to medium term. There is absolutely no alternative. I am sure you are conscious of the magnitude of this enterprise and that an alternative is not going to spring up overnight in Canberra or, probably, within near reach of Canberra.

Pine forest land-reallocation

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, can you advise what progress has been made with the allocation of former pine forest land burnt in the fires of Christmas 2001? You are the minister for land allocation?

MR CORBELL: I am afraid I do not understand the question. Allocation to what, for what, Mr Speaker?


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